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A bird flies near the Association of South-east Asian Nations secretariat building, ahead of the ASEAN leaders' meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 23, 2021. — Reuters pic
A bird flies near the Association of South-east Asian Nations secretariat building, ahead of the ASEAN leaders’ meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 23, 2021. — Reuters pic

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BANGKOK, July 31 — The appointment of a special envoy to Myanmar is expected to be concluded during the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting next week.

Director-general of Department of Asean Affairs at Thailand’s Foreign Ministry Usana Berananda said three nominees for the role have been indentified and Brunei, the current Asean chair, has conveyed all three names to Myanmar.

“We understand Myanmar has positively responded to the nominations. We hope that the appointment can be finalised during Asean Ministerial Meeting/Post Ministerial Conferences next week.

The special envoy will serve as the mediator in the dialogue process to seek a peaceful solution for the nation in turmoil since the Feb 1 military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

She said veteran Thai diplomat and former deputy foreign minister, Virasakdi Futrakul is among the nominees. Earlier, media had reported the two other candidates were former Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and Malaysia’s Tan Sri Razali Ismail who previously served as a United Nations special envoy to Myanmar.

“Once the special envoy is appointed, the mandate will be based on the five-point consensus agreed by Asean leaders during the Special Meeting in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta in April,” she said at a virtual press conference on Friday.

The five-point consensus are – immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar, hold constructive dialogue among all parties concerned, appointment of an Asean special envoy as mediator, provide humanitarian assistance and the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.

A day after attending the meeting, Myanmar’s junta leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said he would consider the five points when the situation in Myanmar is stable.

Three months after the Asean leaders agreed on the five-point consensus, little has materialised while the situation in Myanmar had deteriorated drastically due to the civil unrest since where more than 900 people have been reported killed. To add to the woes, the country is now facing a surge in Covid-19 cases and fatalities.

Usana said the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) and Asean Secretariat have prepared the ground work to provide humanitarian assistance to Myanmar.

“Thailand will contribute medical supply through AHA Centre to Myanmar. We are working closely with Myanmar and Asean Chair, Brunei,” she said.

Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward warned that the virus is spreading through the population very fast indeed and by some estimates half of Myanmar’s 54 million population could be infected with Covid-19 in the next two weeks.

Therefore, she called for the United Nations monitors to ensure an effective delivery of vaccines.

“The coup has resulted in a near total collapse of the healthcare system, with health care workers being attacked and arrested,” she told an informal Security Council discussion on Myanmar, quoted by Reuters. — Bernama

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