JAKARTA: Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, on Friday (September 22), discussed the Myanmar issue with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Mirjana Spoljaric in New York, reported ANTARA news agency.
Both figures discussed the issue during a meeting held on the sidelines of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During the meeting, Minister Marsudi told the ICRC leader that the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would continue to promote the Five-Point Consensus (5PC) as the main reference for resolving the ongoing crises induced by the coup executed by the Burmese military junta.
Marsudi told Spoljaric that Indonesia, as the 2023 chair of ASEAN, has taken various concrete actions to deal with the Myanmar issue, including by distributing humanitarian aid to the country.
Marsudi then underscored Indonesia’s commitment to continuously assisting the people of Myanmar, even after its ASEAN chairmanship term concludes, through the troika mechanism agreed upon at the 43rd ASEAN Summit.
Laos, as the next chair of ASEAN, will initiate the implementation of the troika mechanism and will be assisted by Indonesia, the preceding chair, and Malaysia, the succeeding chair, to ensure the sustainability of the implementation of the 5PC to resolve the Myanmar issue.
Meanwhile, Spoljaric, for her part, extended her appreciation to Indonesia for its persistent support for the ICRC. She also expressed hope that Indonesia and ICRC would be able to further solidify their relations through cooperation and dialogue.
Spoljaric is a Swiss diplomat, who became the first woman to ever lead the international organisation. She officially came into office in October last year.
Myanmar has been plunged into political and economic crises since its military junta mounted a coup against the elected government on February 1, 2021.
The military junta, led by Min Aung Hlaing, then proceeded to imprison the elected President of Myanmar, Win Myint, as well as the state counsellor and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, Aung San Suu Kyi.
As a result, the people of Myanmar carried out nationwide protests to deny the legitimacy of the administration of the military junta, which then responded to the protests by resorting to acts of violence, resulting in injuries and casualties.
ASEAN, as the leading bloc in Southeast Asia, then engaged the military junta leader to formulate and approve the 5PC in April of 2021 as the main reference for putting an end to the problems.
However, the consensus has not been genuinely implemented to put an end to the ongoing crises on account of the junta’s unwillingness to do so.
Hence, ASEAN decided to not invite Myanmar’s political representatives to its agendas, including ministerial meetings and summits.
On September 5, the first day of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesian President Joko Widodo highlighted the importance of the 5PC as the regional bloc’s main guidelines for helping Myanmar.
“Regarding the 5PC implementation, I would like to reiterate that the 5PC constitutes ASEAN’s collective effort, as a family. The 5PC, agreed upon by ASEAN leaders in Jakarta on April 21, 2021, will serve as ASEAN’s main guidelines,“ he stressed.
During its ASEAN chairmanship, Indonesia has approached numerous parties in Myanmar, including the National Unity Government (NUG), which is a shadow government formed by the opposition junta; the State Administrative Council (SAC) formed by the military; ethnic resistance organizations (EROs); and civil society.
Those efforts were made to pave the way for an inclusive dialogue that is included as part of the 5PC.-Bernama