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DPM Prak Sokhonn: Solution for Myanmar Remains as Long as International Community Continues to Engage

PHNOM PENH: The Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair for Myanmar, DPM Prak Sokhonn, briefed the UN Security Council on the outcome of his first visit to Myanmar and the outcome of the Consultative Meeting on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar. He said that both ASEAN and Myanmar want the country to return to normalcy, and the ASEAN Special Envoy understands that the solution to this issue can only come from the political actors in Myanmar themselves.

Addressing UN Security Council President, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, on Friday, 27 May, DPM Prak Sokhonn spoke about two things he is doing as a facilitator and consultant for providing assistance to Myanmar.

He vowed to be an "attentive listener and honest facilitator for Myanmar," emphasizing that various political parties in Myanmar should take a more open stance for constructive dialogue in order to build mutual understanding, trust, and confidence that is conducive to a friendly environment and trustworthy peace process in Myanmar.

In terms of providing humanitarian assistance to Myanmar, he outlined that ASEAN has achieved three things: establishing the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Framework, addressing the challenges of humanitarian assistance operations, and building the framework for implementing the Covid-19 vaccination program in Myanmar.

He said, "The immediate priority is to set out on what was agreed at the recent consultative meeting, especially efforts to provide timely humanitarian assistance to those in need without discrimination."

The DPM further told the UN Security Council that he would travel to Myanmar for a second time to push for further progress in implementing the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus (5PC)

Posting on his Facebook page on Friday night, DPM Prak Sokhonn said this was his second report to the UN Security Council on Myanmar. He said Myanmar continues to face complex issues such as the political and economic crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the severe humanitarian crisis. However, this does not mean despair as long as both ASEAN and the international community continue to engage in constructive relations with Myanmar, contrary to a policy of isolation.

He wrote, "We are doing our best as the Chair of ASEAN, and we still hope that those efforts will contribute to building a strong foundation for peace, stability, and prosperity for the whole of Myanmar.”

The five points the ASEAN Special Envoy looks forward to pushing for during his next visit to Myanmar include the cessation of violence, participation in constructive communication, engagement in the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, the provision of humanitarian aid, and optimism that Myanmar can return to normalcy.

The Myanmar military staged a coup to overthrow the government of Myanmar on 1 February 2021, arresting State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other ruling party officials. Hours after the arrests, the Myanmar military declared a one-year state of emergency and handed over power to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, sparking protests across the country. This was a bloody crackdown, however, the situation has reportedly changed somewhat after the 2022 Chairman of ASEAN, Prime Minister Hun Sen, visited the country in early January, and the ASEAN Special Envoy, DPM Prak Sokhonn, led a delegation to pay a working visit in March 2022.

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