Myanmar rejects ASEAN statement condemning violence as ‘one-sided’

Generals lash out after 10-member grouping urges ‘Myanmar Armed Forces in particular’ to end violence and civilian attacks.

Myanmar's empty chair. The chair is white and there's a Myanmar flag and name plate on it.
Myanmar's top leaders were not invited to the ASEAN summit [Mast Irham/Pool via Reuters]

Southeast Asian leaders have “strongly condemned” the continuing violence in Myanmar, directly blaming the bloodshed on the generals who seized power in a coup in February 2021.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is meeting in Jakarta after the generals failed to implement the so-called five-point consensus to end the crisis, which they agreed to with ASEAN a couple of months after their power grab.

Violence has only worsened in the months since, with the military accused of war crimes for its attacks on civilians.

The leaders “urge the Myanmar Armed Forces in particular, and all related parties concerned in Myanmar to de-escalate violence and stop targeted attacks on civilians, houses and public facilities, such as schools, hospitals, markets,” the leaders said in a statement seen by news agencies.

“We strongly condemned the continued acts of violence in Myanmar.”

Myanmar is also a member of ASEAN but has been barred from high-profile events because of its failure to implement the five-point consensus.

In a statement published on Wednesday in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar, the foreign ministry rejected the ASEAN statement saying: “The views are not objective and decisions are bias and one-sided.”

Noting its leaders were not in Jakarta, the statement said that while Myanmar had been consulted on the draft, its “view and voices” had not been taken into account.

Myanmar was slated to chair the 10-member grouping in 2026. But regional leaders earlier agreed that the Philippines would assume the role in 2026 instead.

The chair is usually rotated each year based on the alphabetical order of the English names of the member states.

Myanmar, which joined ASEAN under a previous military government in 1997, chaired the organisation in 2014 under the country’s first civilian head of state.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies