We must engage the junta
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai confirmed that he had met with the exiled and imprisoned Myanmar leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

"She (Suu Kyi) was in a healthy condition," the minister stated on the sidelines of the Retreat Session of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Pramudwinai remarked that Myanmar's ousted leader pushed for dialogue as a means to resolving the political crisis in her country.

The minister then reiterated that inclusive dialogues involving Myanmar stakeholders, including the military junta, are of the essence to deal with the crisis, saying, "We must engage the junta."

Thailand has been taking its own alternative approach to resolving the crisis in Myanmar by inviting representatives of the military junta to three meetings since last year.

Bangkok invited all ASEAN ministers to the most recent meeting held in June. In the end, the Laotian foreign affairs minister and Myanmar junta's representatives joined the meeting, while other ASEAN foreign affairs ministers stayed away.

Minister Pramudwinai affirmed that all the three Thailand-initiated meetings fully complied with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' Review and Decision on the Implementation of the Five-Point Consensus document.

The consensus called for an immediate end to violence; holding of dialogue among all parties; the appointment of a special envoy; allowing humanitarian assistance from ASEAN; and permitting an ASEAN special envoy to visit Myanmar to meet with all parties.

The Thai minister defended Bangkok's approach by referring to Article 14 of the document, which was released after the 2022 ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and states, "ASEAN shall consider exploring other approaches that could support the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus."

The approach does not violate the Five-Point Consensus that ASEAN has agreed upon, he stressed.

"Yes, we aim to collectively achieve the points encapsulated in the consensus, but this (the meetings) is the approach we take to engage the colleagues in Myanmar. We seek for a settlement, so our goal is basically the same," he emphasized.

The interaction between Pramudwinai and Suu Kyi on Sunday (July 9) was the first confirmed meeting between the Burmese democracy icon and a foreign high-ranking official since the mutiny carried out by the military junta against the Myanmar elected government.

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Translator: Katriana, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Sri Haryati
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