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Progress on Myanmar route to peace ‘painfully slow’, Malaysia’s FM says ahead of Aung San Suu Kyi trial

Progress on Myanmar route to peace ‘painfully slow’, Malaysia’s FM says ahead of Aung San Suu Kyi trial
Malaysia’s foreign minister has lamented the lack of progress on implementing a five-point plan to address the political chaos and alleviate suffering in Myanmar, which has been under military rule since the February 1 coup.

In April, the 10 member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed on the five-point consensus, which calls for an end to violence in Myanmar, political talks, humanitarian aid, and the selection of a regional envoy.

“On Myanmar, the 5-Point Consensus is an important breakthrough, and a means for ASEAN to engage and assist Myanmar towards a return to normalcy,” Malaysia’s Hishammuddin Hussein said in a tweet on Monday.

“However, we must admit that developments on the consensus is painfully slow. The international community is awaiting ASEAN’s further action.”

The consensus, which is also reported to have support from China, was agreed between ASEAN and Myanmar’s ruling military junta, led by Min Aung Hlaing.

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The army general seized power in February after directing troops to round up Myanmar’s democratically-elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top government officials.

Min Aung Hlaing justified the coup by claiming that November’s election, won in a landslide by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, was held fraudulently.

He has pledged to hold fresh elections in the next two years but has warned the NLD may be dissolved.

Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest at her home in the capital Naypyidaw, is due to stand trial for her alleged crimes next week.

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The proceedings are scheduled to open on June 14 and expected to conclude around July 26, lawyers for the deposed leader told AFP on Monday.

Suu Kyi could be handed a 14-year prison sentence if found guilty of breaking the Official Secrets Act. She also faces a number of other charges, including corruption.

Since the military took over Myanmar, anti-coup protesters calling for Suu Kyi’s release have frequently clashed with soldiers and police.

More than 850 people have been killed in the violence, while more than 4,600 have been detained, according to Thailand-based human rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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