Implementation of Asean agreement to resolve Myanmar crisis is slow & disappointing: Vivian

Achieving peace in Myanmar is not an easy or quick process.

Faris Alfiq | July 07, 2021, 01:39 PM

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said that the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus to resolve the Myanmar crisis has been "slow and a little disappointing".

Process won't be "easy or quick"

In a written reply to questions posed by Worker's Party (WP) members He Ting Ru and Dennis Tan regarding arms export to Myanmar, as well as Asean's commitment to the Five-Point Consensus, Vivian pointed out that all Asean leaders and Myanmar's military leaders have agreed to the Consensus.

However, while the "common vision of the way forward has not changed", Vivian said Asean recognised the slow implementation of the Consensus.

Nevertheless, he reiterated that Singapore is working within Asean to expedite this process to alleviate the humanitarian situation, end the violence in Myanmar, and set it back on "the path of direct negotiation by all stakeholders" to achieve "normalcy, peace and stability for the long term".

He also acknowledged that the process will not be an "easy or quick" one, and that the success of it lies in the hands of the Myanmar people.

Ultimately, the key stakeholders in Myanmar must "find the political will to negotiate, compromise, and find a durable political solution that is in the interest of the people of Myanmar", he added.

Singapore committed to supporting Asean's efforts

In his statement, he also reaffirmed Singapore's commitment in supporting Asean's efforts in facilitating peace and stability in Myanmar through the implementation of the Consensus.

The Five-Point Consensus is an agreement reached by Asean member states in resolving the Myanmar crisis. The consensus includes:

  • There shall be immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.
  • Constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.
  • A special envoy of the Asean Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary-General of ASEAN.
  • Asean shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre.
  • The special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.

S'pore "complies strictly" with UN arms sanctions on Myanmar

In addressing the WP's question on the steps taken by Singapore to support the UN General Assembly Resolution that called for an arms embargo on Myanmar, Vivian said that Singapore complies strictly with international obligations on arms sales, and abides by UN sanctions and embargo against any country.

Vivian further reiterated that Myanmar is not one of the recipient countries of Singapore's arms exports. This is reflected on the UN Register of Conventional Arms on international arms transfers, to which Singapore submits reports every year.

He further said that that Singapore has "a robust arms export control regime", and its control lists are updated regularly to ensure that the country's export control system is aligned with international non-proliferation regimes.

Vivian also affirmed that Singapore will not hesitate to take action against those who contravene its laws.

Clear and consistent position on Myanmar

Since the military seized power in Myanmar on Feb. 1 this year, Singapore has taken a clear and consistent position on the situation, Vivian said.

He further said Singapore categorically rejects any the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians, describing it as "deplorable and unacceptable".

He further said the country has called on the military to put an end to the violence and bloodshed and for all sides to refrain from escalating tensions.

The Singapore government has also called for the release of political detainees so that all stakeholders can negotiate in finding a durable and peaceful political situation.

On June 18, Singapore voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution that called for an arms embargo on Myanmar.

In his statement, Vivian further mentioned that Singapore supports the resolution's calls for unimpeded humanitarian assistance to safely reach those in need.

Top photo via Vivian Balakrishnan/Facebook