Sent a military council representative to the ASEAN meeting that had been boycotted for more than two years Sent a military council representative to the ASEAN meeting that had been boycotted for more than two years

Sent a military council representative to the ASEAN meeting that had been boycotted for more than two years

Sent a military council representative to the ASEAN meeting that had been boycotted for more than two years

The ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting is being held in Luang Prabang, Laos from January 28th to 29th, and the Military Council has sent the (temporary) Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Daw Mala Thanthai, with photos from international media reports.

Since October 2021, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has banned top officials, including Myanmar's military leader General Min Aung Hlaing, from attending high-level meetings in response to the military coup.

It has been more than two years since the Military Council did not send any representatives to the ASEAN meetings to boycott this.

A Singapore-based analyst of ASEAN affairs, who did not want to be named, said that sending a representative from the military council to the ASEAN meeting led by Laos, the rotating chairman in 2024, is trying to find a political way out because of the bad military situation in the country.

"The main thing is that according to the current military situation, the situation of the military council is not very good. So when the situation is bad like this, they look for a political way out, Or they are trying to find a diplomatic way out. When Laos is the chairman of ASEAN, it may be assumed that as a chairman of ASEAN, it will have influence on the rest of the countries to some extent."

He also said that since Laos understands that the Military Council must deal with Myanmar, it seems that re-engagement with ASEAN in such a situation is an opportunity for the Military Council.

"Because the junta hopes that Laos will support whatever the junta wants at the ASEAN meeting as ASEAN chairman."

Dr. Sai Kyi Zin Soe, a Myanmar political analyst, also opined that the Military Council, which has been hurt by the other side, is rebuilding relations with ASEAN as a prelude to finding a political way out.

"In the current situation, it is an opportunity for him to appear. Especially when he was the president of Laos, And the changing domestic situation, He is suffering from such situations. In terms of business, it's been four or five years now since Covid-19. I think it would be more accurate to say that we are trying to create and build a breathing channel for them to be more comfortable.”

Currently, the military council is facing a concerted attack by the local ethnic armed forces and pro-democracy revolutionary forces across the country.

Since October 2023, the military council has lost 36 cities across the country.

Burmese political analyst Dr. Hla Kyaw Zaw said that the military council may have turned to the international side for negotiations because of the bad situation at home.

“I think it also has to do with his domestic situation. Domestically, he (Military Council)'s situation is not very good, so he is a little bit international. Back then, he used to act like a curmudgeon. Now that his domestic situation has worsened, I think they may have turned to the international side to negotiate. If he has a bad relationship with a country like Laos, there is no other way for him. That's why I think the military council made concessions and attended (the meeting)."

RFA contacted General Zaw Min Tun, who is authorized to speak at the Military Council, to get a perspective on sending a representative to the meetings that have been boycotted for more than two years, but he did not pick up the phone.

A former army officer, who did not want to be named for security reasons, told RFA that this is a sign that the military council is slightly reducing its stance and moving back towards democracy.

"The main thing is that he has something to say because he wants to say it. That's why he lowered his position a little bit. The army will return to the path of democracy. We can see that it is close and we can review it. I'm going to go again. Next, whatever you say, you will say what you have to say. I will talk as much as I can.

Alounkeo Kittikhoun, the 2024 ASEAN rotating chairman, Laos' special representative for Myanmar, Alounkeo Kittikhoun, visited Myanmar this month and met with the Chairman of the Military Council, General Min Aung Hlaing, as well as the ethnic armed groups that have signed the ceasefire NCA. He met the leaders of the political parties registered to participate in the elections.

After his visit to Burma, before the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the Thai Foreign Minister, In addition to discussing the Myanmar issue with China's Deputy Foreign Minister, he also held an online meeting with National Unity Government (NUG) Foreign Minister Daw Zin Ma Aung.

Debbie Stothard, Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), said that the military council is hoping to get the support of Laos, the current ASEAN rotating chairman, regarding the Myanmar issue.

"It is clear that the junta wants to participate in the ASEAN meeting hosted by Laos, even though it does not allow a political representative to attend. This is because the junta expects that Laos will support whatever the junta wants at the ASEAN meeting as the chairman of ASEAN."

Debbie Stothard also said that the rest of the ASEAN countries need to be aware of the fact that Laos is responsible for not harming the common ASEAN agreements imposed on Myanmar.

On the first day of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting on January 28, the new ASEAN Special Representative for Myanmar, Alon Kaeo Kittikhun, also met separately with ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn to discuss Myanmar issues.

Due to these conditions, during the current chairmanship of Laos, Brunei, Both domestically and abroad are waiting with interest to see what will be different about Myanmar's affairs compared to Cambodia and Indonesia.

Basarnas said 16 climbers of Mount Pangrango were safe

Jakarta - The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said that 16 climbers of Mount Gede Pangrango, West Java, who were found Monday (29/1) at around 09.55 WIB were safe.

Head of the Jakarta Basarnas Operations Section, Agung Priambodo, said the 16 climbers were found in the Saung garden belonging to residents of Pasir Pogor, Cibedug Village, Ciawi District, Bogor Regency, West Java.

"Survivors were finally found this afternoon at an altitude of 1238 MDPL with two people in a sprained leg and the remaining 14 people in safe condition," he said in a statement in Jakarta, Monday.

Previously, the joint SAR team conducted a search with Explore SAR on Monday (29/1) at around 02:30 WIB by combing the climbing area along the path from Kulah Dua Ciawi to the location of the incident until finally all survivors were found safe.

Agung said that previously information was obtained that 13 survivors were lost, but after being found it turned out that 16 survivors had been rescued.

Now the 16 survivors are still being handled by the Citapen Health Center at the Tapos Regional National Park Management Resort Office, Bogor Regency, West Java.

For information, previously around 16 people climbed the Mount Gede Pangrango area with the aim of making a pilgrimage on Saturday (27/1) at around 16:00 WIB via a non-climbing route from Kulah Dua, Cibedug Village, Ciawi District, Bogor Regency, West Java.

It is known that they informed their family that they would go down on Sunday (28/1) afternoon, but because at that time the weather was raining quite heavily so they got lost.

Shortly after the survivor's family informed officers to ask for help, dozens of joint SAR personnel were involved in the search effort.

Data on victims of survivors includes Bintang (46), Dedi Saefullah (45), Syarhroni (45), Ian Mulyana (43), Saripudin (45), Asep (40), Andi Rahman (21), Helmi (45), Farid ( 50), Farhan (22), Ateng Muhdi (56), and Akbar (12).

Next there is Yanuar (40) with a sprained leg, Riza (12), Dedi Supriadi (46) with a sprained leg, and Afrizal (50).
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