Exclusion of Myanmar From ASEAN Summit 'Perfectly Appropriate' Step – US State Dept.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The exclusion of the Myanmar military leader from an upcoming summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an "appropriate" and "justified" step taken as part of efforts to restore democracy in the country, a senior State Department official said on Friday.
"It seems perfectly appropriate and, in fact, completely justified for ASEAN to downgrade Burma's [Myanmar’s] participation [in the summit]," the official said during a press briefing. "We are supporting all efforts to promote a just and peaceful resolution to the crisis [in Myanmar], the restoration of democratic institutions and we fully respect ASEAN’s decisions there."
US officials have been talking about downgrading participation of Myanmar in future ASEAN summits and meetings, the official noted.
Earlier in the day, ASEAN foreign ministers decided to exclude Myanmar's army chief Min Aung Hlaing from participation in the upcoming summit in response to the military government's alleged unwillingness to engage with the regional bloc in order to resolve the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the country.
The military came to power in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, under pretext that the then-ruling National League for Democracy party rigged the November 2020 general election. The military coup triggered a wave of civil protests, leaving several hundred people dead.