The EU has pledged to continue its support for ASEAN efforts to find peace in Myanmar, as the leaders of the two regional blocs met to celebrate 45 years of dialogue partnership.
“We remain deeply concerned over the crisis in Myanmar,” said a December 14 joint statement as they gathered in Brussels, Belgium, for the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit.
They recalled Myanmar’s commitment to the ASEAN five-point consensus (5PC) during the ASEAN leaders’ meeting on April 24 last year and urged its implementation in a timely manner, in line with the position adopted at the November ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh.
“The EU will continue to support ASEAN’s efforts to facilitate a peaceful solution in the interest of the people of Myanmar, including through the work of the special envoy of the ASEAN chair on Myanmar, in building confidence and trust with full access to all parties concerned, and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar, including those who are the most in need, without discrimination,” added the statement.
The leaders reiterated their commitment to peace and stability in the region and continued to call for the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar, as well as the release of all political detainees, including foreigners.
“We denounce the July executions of four opposition activists. We will redouble our collective efforts to find a peaceful solution that reflects the commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms that is outlined in the ASEAN Charter,” said the statement.
The two regional blocs stressed the importance of Myanmar’s commitment to ensuring safety and security for all communities in Rakhine state. They also called for the voluntary return of displaced persons in a safe, secure, and dignified manner, in accordance with an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, in his capacity as the ASEAN chair’s special envoy, addressed a closed-door session of the political and security committee of the EU.
He explained the difficulty of commencing a dialogue process in myanmar, given the vast gulf that exists between the parties concerned, but that he had opened the door for a discussion during his second visit.
“The EU commended Cambodia’s efforts and the work of the Special Envoy in advancing the 5PC and reiterated their commitment to support ASEAN’s centrality and its leading role in helping Myanmar return to democratic path the earliest possible,” said the a foreign ministry press release.