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Premier, UN envoy hash over efforts on Myanmar

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Prime Minister Hun Sen meets with UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar's Noeleen Heyzer on April 1. SPM

Premier, UN envoy hash over efforts on Myanmar

Prime Minister Hun Sen told UN special envoy on Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer that Cambodia remains committed to assisting the predominantly Buddhist country in finding a permanent solution to ending the ongoing crisis and providing humanitarian assistance to those in need as well as spurring a dialogue between all parties to the conflict.

Hun Sen spoke with Heyzer on the sidelines of the May 22-26 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to Kao Kim Hourn, the minister delegate attached to the prime minister.

“[Hun Sen] emphasised that although the relevant work in Myanmar is important, it is not easy. However, [he] emphasised that Cambodia remains committed to assisting Myanmar, and especially in fulfilling our role as chair of ASEAN,” he said.

Hun Sen identified three priorities for helping Myanmar. The first is to end the violence through a permanent ceasefire. The second is to provide humanitarian assistance to the people in most need of it, and the third is to spur a constructive dialogue with the participation of all parties concerned.

Heyzer thanked Hun Sen for helping the people of Myanmar and hoped that the premier’s comments would be heeded. She said the important thing now is to look for a means to reduce the violence against civilians in Myanmar.

Heyzer also stated that Cambodia’s efforts reflected well on the Kingdom’s ability to lead on important issues, especially the prime minister’s visit to Myanmar and his meetings with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing – chairman of the ruling State Administration Council (SAC).

Back on January 7-8, Hun Sen visited Myanmar to meet with Min Aung Hlaing, who at that time pledged to extend a ceasefire until the end of 2022 and to curb the violence there, but eventually reneged on those promises, with Hun Sen later publicly noting his objection to the resumption of combat operations.

Heyzer told Hun Sen that Min Aung Hlaing had invited her to pay a visit to Myanmar in the near future, noting that she plans to go there but wants the premier’s views on the situation before she does.

In late January, Hun Sen met virtually with Min Aung Hlaing a second time and expressed concerns over the violence. He also proposed several actions that the SAC leader could undertake to resolve the crisis. Then in early May, Hun Sen met virtually with the senior general for a third time to discuss the implementation of the ASEAN five-point consensus.

Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Center for Development and Peace, said that if the prime minister’s three basic priorities were implemented, it would do a great deal of good for the people of Myanmar, but it would also be highly dependent on the armed groups agreeing to them.

“Cambodia, as ASEAN chair, could find ways to make the second and third priorities happen, but first they need to achieve a ceasefire. Once there is a ceasefire, the dialogue and humanitarian assistance will not face such great obstacles. But getting everyone to agree to a ceasefire and then somehow ensuring that it holds may be difficult, so first they need to think of a scenario that accomplishes that,” he told The Post on May 26.

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