Genuine reconciliation in Myanmar, a work in progress

    The way things are going about resolving the Myanmar crisis is not as what Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan expects. He says the “very slow” progress being made … “is disappointing.”

    SINGAPORE — One of the issues discussed during the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers Meeting in Chongqing, China is the situation in Myanmar.

    “All of us were united on the need for an immediate cessation of violence, on the need for the release of detainees, and for meaningful negotiations and dialogue to occur among all parties,” says Dr Balakrishnan during the Chongqing meet.

    “And even the appointment of an ASEAN envoy only makes sense if there is a genuine desire within Myanmar itself for genuine dialogue and negotiations and reconciliation. So this is still a work in progress,” he says to Singapore reporters.

    “To be honest with you, we are disappointed at the slow—very, very slow progress. Unfortunately, we know that there are still civilians who have been hurt or killed. There has been no release of political detainees, there has been no real sign of meaningful political dialogue and negotiation. So we’ll have to watch this space.”

    ASEAN’s main role is not to interfere, Dr Balakrishnan reiterates, “in the end, only the people themselves within Myanmar can determine its future”.

    “But ASEAN stands ready to help, to be supportive, to facilitate mediation if possible, but we will have to wait. It’s disappointing but let’s not give up hope,” he says. (TC/The MiNT)

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