Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government on Monday criticized Thailand’s decision to host a meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Myanmar junta.

Speaking at a press conference in Jakarta, special staff to the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs for regional diplomacy, Ngurah Swajaya, said that Thailand's approach to involve the Myanmar junta violated the mandate of ASEAN's Five-Point Consensus.

"If one country takes the initiative, go ahead, it's their right. But when talking in the ASEAN context, we have rules of the game that must be respected," Swajaya stated.

The rules of the game refer to the Five-Point Consensus and the outcomes of the ASEAN summits, which have been agreed upon by the leaders for addressing the crisis that has been unfolding in Myanmar ever since the military seized power from a democratically elected government in a 2021 coup.

"There was an agreement among ASEAN leaders that the Five-Point Consensus is still the reference (for resolving Myanmar's crisis)," he said.

According to Swajaya, an approach involving all stakeholders in Myanmar must be carried out to encourage national inclusive dialogue and find a peaceful solution. Engaging just one stakeholder is not part of ASEAN’s Myanmar peace plans.

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Indonesia, as the chair of ASEAN this year, has been trying to engage almost all stakeholders in Myanmar, including the military junta that is currently governing Myanmar, the State Administrative Council (SAC), and the government-in-exile formed by anti-coup and pro-democracy activists, Government of National Unity (NUG), to kick-start the peace process, he added.

"Settlement through inclusive dialogue is the only way to create sustainable and durable peace," he said.

Thailand on Monday hosted talks aimed at re-engaging with the Myanmar junta.

ASEAN foreign ministers and Myanmar's junta-appointed foreign minister, Than Swe, were invited to the meeting in Pattaya on June 18–19, 2023.

However, some ASEAN members, including Indonesia, declined to attend the meeting citing their disapproval.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the talks were necessary to protect his country, which shares a long border with Myanmar, according to a Reuters report.

"We suffer more than others because Thailand has more than 3 thousand km shared land border as well as a maritime border," Prayuth told reporters. "That is why the talks are necessary. It is not about taking sides.”

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Shofi Ayudiana
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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