WORLD

SOLUTION TO MYANMAR CRISIS MUST START FROM WITHIN - ANALYSTS

23/04/2023 01:34 PM

By Rosmalis Anuar

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 (Bernama) -- Despite international condemnation and sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union, Myanmar's military has continued its relentless airstrike campaigns on target groups that the junta claimed as insurgent opponents.

In a recent attack, approximately 170 people, including women and children, were killed and dozens injured in a horrific aerial attack by junta forces on civilians in Pazigyi village in Kanbalu Township in the Sagaing Region.

While international pressure on the military junta has yet to show the desired result hitherto, geostrategist Prof Dr Azmi Hassan opined that the solution to the crisis must start from within Myanmar through its shadow National Unity Government (NUG).

The senior fellow at Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) told Bernama that the sanctions imposed on Myanmar only left a temporary effect on the junta.

"The junta has many channels to obtain financial resources, for example selling precious stones to other countries that have no problem selling their jet fuel and other natural resources to the junta," he said.

Dr Rahul Mishra, Director of the Centre of ASEAN Regionalism at Universiti Malaya (CARUM), agreed with this opinion and remarked that sanctions would not yield a long-term beneficial effect.

In order to help in the restoration of democracy in Myanmar, he said ASEAN must transition from non-interference to constructive intervention on humanitarian grounds. He added that this is also required of the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), as well as ASEAN's dialogue partners.

"ASEAN’s condemning of the attack definitely shows its sincerity, but that is not enough.  

"In the absence of any law enforcement mechanism, ASEAN is finding it difficult to implement the Five Point Consensus (5PCs). Unless ASEAN and its member countries take a more-coordinated consensus-based approach to strictly implement the 5PCs, Myanmar won’t be able to get back to normalcy," he said.

The 5PCs reached by the ASEAN leaders in Jakarta in April 2021 are; to end the violence, hold constructive talks among all stakeholders, ASEAN provides aid to Myanmar, a special ASEAN envoy appointed to conduct talks, and the envoy allowed to visit the country.

Meanwhile, Azmi added that ASEAN's influence on the junta is very limited and is not able to force the junta to implement at least one or two things from the 5PCs.

Removing Myanmar from the grouping will be a bold move but will not solve the problem either because it will make it more difficult for the grouping to engage with Myanmar, he said.

On whether the UN should intervene by sending its peacekeepers to Myanmar, both analysts agreed that it could help Myanmar return to the path of democracy. Still, there are many constraints that can prevent this from happening.

"It needs approval from the junta. The junta didn't even allow ASEAN observers to enter the country, let alone send a peacekeeping force. In this case, the junta will not agree," said Azmi.

"That could be a possibility (UN sending peacekeepers). However, the bigger question is that China and Russia may not support such a move and thus block the whole process," said Rahul.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the military toppled Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government in February 2021 coup, with an estimated 3,200 civilians killed as part of the junta's crackdown on dissent.

-- BERNAMA


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