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Updated November 11th, 2022 at 14:40 IST

Indonesia president on 'worsening' Myanmar crisis

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries struggled on Friday to come to a consensus on how to pressure Myanmar to comply with a plan for peace. Violence in the member state spiraling out of control since the military seized power in 2021.

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Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries struggled on Friday to come to a consensus on how to pressure Myanmar to comply with a plan for peace.

Violence in the member state spiraling out of control since the military seized power in 2021.

The group has banned leaders of Myanmar, also known as Burma, from participating in its top-level events, like the ongoing summit in Phnom Penh, in an effort to pressure them to comply with ASEAN's five-point plan for peace, so far with little effect.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, whose country assumes ASEAN's rotating chair after Cambodia, told reporters on the sidelines of the summit that he had proposed extending the ban on Myanmar political representatives beyond the summit and foreign ministers' meeting to other events - something urged by human rights groups.

The ASEAN plan calls for the immediate cessation of violence, a dialogue among all parties, mediation by an ASEAN special envoy, provision of humanitarian aid and a visit to Myanmar by the special envoy to meet all sides.

Myanmar's government initially agreed to the plan but has made little effort to implement it.

Under the current ban on political representation, Myanmar has been allowed to send non-political representatives, but has refused.

Singapore and Malaysia, and at times Brunei, have backed Indonesia's calls for strengthening the measures against Myanmar, according to a diplomat with access to the discussions, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk about the closed-door meetings.

The group has decided not to suspend Myanmar from ASEAN - at least for now.

Thailand, backed by Cambodia and Laos, has been pushing back against the Indonesian proposal, arguing that extending the ban on representation would amount to a de facto suspension, the diplomat said.

The situation has been an overarching issue for ASEAN, and Widodo stressed the importance of coming to an agreement.

“The situation in Myanmar must not hold ASEAN hostage,” he said.

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Published November 11th, 2022 at 14:40 IST

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