Indonesia scraps foreign minister Retno’s planned visit to Myanmar

SINGAPORE : Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has cancelled her plan to visit Myanmar, in what would have been the first known trip there by a foreign envoy after the military seized power in a coup on Feb 1.

Speaking in a virtual press conference on Wednesday (Feb 24), Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the trip was cancelled as it was “not an ideal time”.

He noted that Ms Retno had “let open an option to visit Naypyitaw to work on a solution at the regional level”.

However, “after taking into account the current development and following consultation with a number of other Asean countries, this is not the ideal time to conduct a visit to Myanmar”, he added.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi was originally scheduled to fly to Myanmar on Feb 25.PHOTO: REUTERS

Dr Faizasyah did not explain the reasons, nor did he elaborate if the trip would be postponed or scrapped, but said Indonesia would continue to carry out consultation with other Asean countries on the development in Myanmar.

“Indonesia continues to commit to contribute, Indonesia is also committed to pursuing communication with all parties in Myanmar,” he said.

Myanmar’s military ousted the National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leaders to seize power in a coup on Feb 1, sparking mass protests in the country.

A Reuters report, citing sources, on Monday said Indonesia was pushing South-east Asian neighbours to agree on an action plan over Myanmar’s coup that would keep the junta to its promise of holding elections, with monitors to ensure they are fair and inclusive.

Indonesia denied the reports on Tuesday, even as crowds protested in front of the Indonesian embassies in Yangon and Bangkok to demand support for the November 2020 election results.

Ms Retno has been rallying support in South-east Asia for a special meeting on Myanmar, travelling to Brunei, the current Asean chair, and Singapore last week to exchange views on the ongoing developments in Myanmar.

Following a meeting with her Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan last Thursday, the two ministers expressed “grave concern” over the situation in Myanmar and supported a proposal to hold an informal Asean ministerial meeting on Myanmar.

They also expressed hope that all parties involved will maintain dialogue and work towards a peaceful resolution and national reconciliation in Myanmar, including a return to its path of democratic transition, according to a statement by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

By : Arlina Arshad – THE STRAITS TIMES

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