June 15, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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Washington to look at steps to pressure Myanmar to revert to democracy


PUTRAJAYA, Dec 15 — United States (US) Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said Washington would look at additional steps and measures to be taken to pressure Myanmar’s regime to put the country back on a democratic trajectory.

He also urged the regime to implement and follow the 5-Point Consensus set and agreed upon by the ASEAN leaders in ending the political crisis in Myanmar, adding that despite these efforts, the situation in the country has continued to worsen.

“I think it is important that in weeks or months ahead, we need to look at what are the additional steps or measures that we can take individually, collectively to pressure the regime to put the country back on a democratic trajectory, including the release of political prisoners, end the violence and (give) access to humanitarian assistance and workers,” he said.

Blinken said this in a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah at the latter’s office.


Meanwhile, Saifuddin said the developments in Myanmar would be the focus during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ retreat, to be held in Cambodia next month, where the ministers are expected to discuss the commitment and milestones made to the 5-Point consensus.

“We should be looking at the real next steps, identify the real milestones made. We have the 5-Point consensus but we do not identify exactly when certain things need to be achieved and how.”

“So outlining the actual steps and actual milestone as to the dates and the outcomes would be an important decision we try to arrive at the meeting,” he said. 

Saifuddin added that ASEAN, as a whole, also needs to do some soul searching as to how the bloc is to go about implementing its consensus.

He said although ASEAN prides itself on upholding the principle of non-interference, it cannot keep going on as such.

“ASEAN should also look at the principle of non-indifference because what is happening in Myanmar is already getting out of Myanmar,” he said, referring to the Rohingya crisis where Malaysia is currently hosting almost 200,000 Rohingya refugees.

“Perhaps there are Plan A, Plan B, or Plan C. You cannot just stick to one and that one is not working and you still stick to it,” he added.

NMT as reported by Bernama