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ASEAN expresses concern over execution of 4 opposition activists in Myanmar

Phnom Penh [Cambodia], August 5 (ANI): The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressed its concern over the political crisis in Myanmar that has been existing in the country since the 2021 February coup, including the recent execution of four opposition activists.

"We were deeply disappointed by the limited progress in and lack of commitment of the Nay Pyi Taw authorities to the timely and complete implementation of the Five-Point Consensus," read ASEAN joint statement.

ASEAN has been trying to implement a five-point consensus, calling for dialogue among all concerned parties, provision of humanitarian assistance and an immediate cessation of violence, among other things.

Myanmar's military junta reported the execution of four men in the country's first death sentences carried out in over three decades.

"The Myanmar junta's execution of four men was an act of utter cruelty," said Elaine Pearson, acting Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "These executions, including of activist Ko Jimmy and opposition lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw, followed grossly unjust and politically motivated military trials. This horrific news was compounded by the junta's failure to notify the men's families, who learned about the executions through the junta's media reports.""We extensively discussed the recent developments in Myanmar and expressed our concerns over the prolonged political crisis in the country, including the execution of four opposition activists," added the statement.

ASEAN welcomed the efforts to help address the situation including visits to Myanmar by Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in January 2022, and by Prak Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, as the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar in March and late June to early July 2022.

"Towards this end, upholding the agreement of our Leaders at the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and consistent with Article 20 of the ASEAN Charter, we recommended that the ASEAN Summit assesses the progress towards the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus by the State Administration Council to guide the decision on the next steps," said the joint statement.

"We reiterated our commitment to peace and stability in the region and expressed ASEAN's readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful, and constructive manner, including in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We agreed that the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar shall engage all Myanmar relevant stakeholders at the earliest," added the statement.

ASEAN also reaffirmed respect for the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

"We reiterated our call for compliance with international law and the United Nations Charter. The Meeting underlined the importance of an immediate cessation of hostilities and the creation of an enabling environment for the peaceful resolution of conflict," read the statement.

"We supported the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General in the search for a peaceful solution. We also called for the facilitation of rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for those in need in Ukraine, and for the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel, and persons in vulnerable situations," added the statement.

Regarding developments in the Korean Peninsula, ASEAN stressed the importance of continued peaceful dialogue amongst all concerned parties in order to realise lasting peace and stability in a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.

The recent surge in the DPRK's intercontinental ballistic missile testing and ballistic missile launches is a worrisome development that threatens the peace and stability in the region.

"We urged all concerned parties to resume peaceful dialogue and continue working towards the realisation of lasting peace and stability in a denuclearised Korean Peninsula, including through the full and expeditious implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the Joint Statement by the US and DPRK leaders," read the statement.

ASEAN further reiterated its commitment to the full implementation of all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and noted international efforts to bring about the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

"Diplomatic efforts, including the creation of a conducive environment for peaceful dialogue amongst all concerned parties should remain a priority. We reiterated our readiness to play a constructive role, including through utilising ASEAN-led platforms such as the ARF in promoting a conducive atmosphere to peaceful dialogue amongst the concerned parties," added the statement.

Meanwhile, ASEAN looked forward to the convening of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences, 24th APT Foreign Ministers' Meeting, 13th EAS Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and 30th ARF to be held in the Republic of Indonesia in 2023. (ANI)