On Wednesday, Myanmar’s military rulers lambasted the grouping of Southeast Asian countries ASEAN for excluding its generals from regional gatherings, accusing it of caving in to “external pressure”.
Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have condemned Myanmar’s junta, which they say has failed to make concrete progress on a peace plan agreed with the 10-nation bloc last year, including engagement with opponents and cessation of hostilities.
Myanmar’s military seized power from an elected government in a coup last year and has since crushed dissent with lethal force. More recently, the junta has been criticized for executing political activists and imprisoning Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbol of Myanmar’s opposition and democracy movement.
ASEAN has banned Myanmar generals from attending regional meetings, and some members said last month it would be forced to rethink the way forward unless the junta demonstrated progress on the peace plan.
The junta has declined offers to send non-political representatives to ASEAN meetings instead.
“If a seat representing a country is vacant, it should not be called an ASEAN summit,” junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said at a routine press conference on Wednesday, adding that the Myanmar was working to implement the peace plan.
“What they want is for us to meet and talk with the terrorists,” he said, using the junta label for pro-democracy movements that have taken up arms against Israel. army.
He said ASEAN was violating its own policy of non-interference in a country’s sovereign affairs while facing “external pressure”, but did not elaborate.
Cambodia’s foreign ministry, which currently chairs ASEAN, did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Several Western countries, including the United States and Britain, imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s junta following the coup.