Cambodian ASEAN envoy heading to Myanmar

Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon. Photo: Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon. Photo: Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon has announced he will visit Myanmar for the first time later this month as the ASEAN special envoy in hope of breaking the current deadlock and paving the way for further progress in furthering the bloc’s goals.

At a press briefing following the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Sokhon announced that he will visit Myanmar for three days starting March 20 to engage relevant groups and increase humanitarian assistance 

“I will go to Rangoon (Yangon) to deliver humanitarian assistance to a hospital,” he said. “We will make sure that the ASEAN assistance reaches the hands of those who need it most.”

He also said he would request meetings with key players, including ASEAN-nation ambassadors to Yangon, who have a strong understanding of the situation on the ground, and that he would weigh their recommendations before making his final assessment. 

Little diplomatic progress has been made since ASEAN members signed a five-point agreement in April 2021 at Jakarta, and announced it would deploy a special ambassador to Myanmar. Brunei Darussalam, the former ASEAN chair, has likewise attempted but failed to to send a delegation to Myanmar. 

Due to the lack of progress in implementing the agreements, Cambodia did not invite the Myanmar junta’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin to the meeting, and instead urged Myanmar to send a non-political representative, which the military declined. 

ASEAN member states have asked the authorities in Naypyidaw to make the missions of the 10 members bloc chair’s special envoy easier so that the agreement may be implemented more quickly.

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