May 4, 2022
PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Sen has encouraged Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to permit ASEAN special envoy Prak Sokhonn to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi and former President Win Myint during his next visit to Naypyidaw, which could take place later this month.
Hun Sen, who is this year’s ASEAN Chair, spoke via video call with Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of the ruling State Administration Council (SAC), on May 2 for talks on the crisis in the embattled state and the possibility of starting a political dialogue.
“He re-emphasised the importance of the ability of the special envoy to meet all parties concerned in Myanmar, including Aung San Suu Kyi and former President Win Myint, to create a conducive environment in which to start an inclusive political dialogue,” said a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation regarding the meeting.
“In response, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing pledged to facilitate meetings with other parties concerned,” the ministry said.
It said Hun Sen and Min Aung Hlaing had discussed the way forward in expediting the implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus (5PC).
During the meeting, Min Aung Hlaing expressed appreciation for Cambodia’s efforts in assisting Myanmar with finding a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis. He briefed Hun Sen on the situation in the state, including SAC’s response to persistent violence, the possibility of negotiating a ceasefire agreement with all Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) and the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine donations and medical supplies to 58 hospitals and health centres in Myanmar.
“He offered to facilitate engagement with the EAOs by the ASEAN chair’s special envoy as part of the effort to end violence,” the statement said.
Hun Sen told Min Aung Hlaing that it was important to avoid excessive use of force in maintaining law and order. He encouraged Naypyidaw to further facilitate effective and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, particularly in conflict areas. He said providing assistance to those areas not only alleviates people’s suffering, but also supports efforts to de-escalate violence and build trust to engender an inclusive peace dialogue.
According to the statement, Min Aung Hlaing said the SAC was “ready” to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian assistance in two pilot areas and five other regions which have been identified as priority areas.
“During this meeting, Hun Sen also welcomed the release of over 1,600 prisoners, during Myanmar’s traditional New Year celebration in April, and recalled his earlier request for the release of all political detainees, including professor Sean Turnell of Australia,” the ministry said.
It said Hun Sen urged SAC’s further cooperation in facilitating Sokhonn’s second visit, which could take place at the end of May.
At the close of the meeting, Hun Sen reaffirmed Cambodia’s commitment to assist Myanmar in its return to democracy, in line with the 5PC and the unity and centrality of ASEAN.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the meeting reflects Cambodia’s commitment as ASEAN chair to seek a solution to Myanmar’s internal crisis, in the spirit of unity in the bloc.
“Cambodia is making an effort to solve the problem, but it will be dependent on activeness and honesty from Myanmar to implement the 5PC. Cambodia wishes to see Myanmar solve the issue and return to ASEAN,” he said.