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Wednesday, 23 June 2021 19:39

New Initiatives For Conflict Settlement In Myanmar

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Increasing resistance from armed militias against the military junta could spark a civil war in Myanmar. Tuesday, June 22 armed conflict between the military and militia occurred in the city of Mandalay. Attempts to raid a school building using armored vehicles were met with resistance by the militia. A number of soldiers were injured, while on the militia side 4 people were killed. The video of the incident has been widely circulated on social media. It is said, hundreds of anti-coup protesters from various corners of small towns and villages had attended military trainings, preparing against the military junta's troops.

The worsening conditions indicate that the five consensus of ASEAN leaders when they met in Jakarta last April did not have a positive impact on resolving the conditions in Myanmar, a member of ASEAN. As stated by a number of observers, the leader of the Myanmar Junta considers the Jakarta consensus not a binding agreement that must be implemented. It was the scepticism of the opponents of the military junta, as well as the non-implementation of the consensus, that caused the situation to become more uncertain and local militias arose.

The half-hearted attitude of some ASEAN member states in resolving the political crisis and military violence in Myanmar can be cited as one of the causes of the escalation of violence there. As is known, two ASEAN member countries, Thailand and Singapore, have shown a friendly attitude to the military government. Singapore is even reported to have invested in the conflict-ridden country.

The different attitudes of ASEAN member countries were also shown when the United Nations drafted a resolution to stop arms supplies to Myanmar. At the time of voting on the UN resolution to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and Laos all abstained. Indonesia is one of the supporters of the UN resolution along with 198 other countries, while 36 countries have abstained, including China.

To what extent the impact of the UN resolution will be, is still unknown. What is certain, the political and economic interests of various countries, including within ASEAN, can be an indication of the complexity of solving problems in Myanmar. China's position as one of the big countries that supports the military junta, both tangible and intangible, is an indicator of the difficulty of solving the problems. China's attitude is different from the United States and the European Union which openly stopped cooperation with Myanmar's top military officials.

 If the UN resolution does not have an impact, it is very likely that the conflict will escalate. Fears of a civil war in Myanmar are becoming more and more justified. Facing this uncertainty, ASEAN member countries that have a clear commitment must be willing to come forward, at least become the initiators for solving the problem.

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