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Thailand Touts Peace Plan With ASEAN Partners for Myanmar

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Asean looks to restore peace in Myanmar: File Image

Thailand has urged that three or more ASEAN member countries collaborate to engage with Myanmar’s military regime in order to alleviate the crisis and bring peace to the conflict-torn country, while keeping steadfast in its commitment to humanitarian aid and peace promotion.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Nikorndej Balankura said on Wednesday that Thailand had coordinated with Laos, the current Asean chair, to arrange what it terms Asean “Troika” and “Troika plus” talks to restore peace in Myanmar.

The Asean Troika is a community of foreign ministers from the bloc’s previous, current, and prospective chair countries [Indonesia, Laos, and Malaysia]. The term “plus” refers to other Asean members who are interested in promoting peace or concerned about the problem.

Mr Nikorndej stated that the proposed meetings are most likely to take place in Thailand and restated the country’s willingness to mediate negotiations between Myanmar’s junta and resistance organizations.

He stated that the ongoing violence is not between Thailand and Myanmar, and that the Thai government will provide humanitarian assistance to all groups affected by the fighting in accordance with national security, international relations, and human rights standards.

He emphasized that the crisis impacts all countries, including Thailand, which shares a border with Myanmar.

“Thailand is a peace advocate, thus we must stress our role as an active promoter of peace. This is evident in our willingness to mediate negotiations between Myanmar’s conflicting parties. “If they agree, we’re ready,” he stated.

Border Trade Resumes

According to Mr Nikorndej, because the majority of the refugees have returned to Myanmar, the situation is not considered severe, and the consequences on Thailand are limited, affecting border trade only temporarily.

The government committee overseeing the situation along the Thai-Myanmar border, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, is considering forming sub-committees with the National Security Council (NSC) to make the selections.

He highlighted that the situation along the Thai-Myanmar border has improved over the last 48 hours, with no reports of firing from locals. However, the committee will keep an eye on the situation, which is fluid.

During Mr Parnpree’s visit to Tak’s Mae Sot area on Tuesday afternoon, he stated that there has been no fighting at the 2nd Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Bridge since Sunday, and the majority of the refugees who left the fighting over the weekend have since returned.

He stated that the most important thing is that Thai residents be reassured that the government is taking steps to alleviate the effects of the Myanmar conflict on their livelihoods.

“Our agencies have response plans and people can rest assured that we are giving top priority to their safety,” he went on to say. When asked when the Mae Sot checks will reopen, he said they are expected to do so soon because both sides in Myanmar understand the importance of the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge as a crucial border commerce route.

Residents Return to Myanmar

Meanwhile, the final group of 658 Myanmar refugees who sought safety in Mae Sot on Wednesday voluntarily chose to return once the situation in Myawaddy eased, according to local officials.

They were provided needs, such as medicines, before crossing the Moei River back to Myawaddy. Local officials and charity workers escorted them away.

According to the most recent reports, the checkpoint at the 1st Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge reopened on Wednesday, and junta troops who had fled to the 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge had returned to their barracks at the 275th Infantry Battalion.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that a Myanmar rebel force has evacuated from Myawaddy following a military counteroffensive.

According to a spokesman for the Karen National Union (KNU), the “temporary retreat” from the town of Myawaddy occurred after junta soldiers returned to the crucial strategic location, which serves as a conduit for more than $1 billion in yearly foreign trade.

ASEAN’s Influence Over Myanmar

ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a regional intergovernmental organization made up of ten Southeast Asian countries. Founded in 1967, its mission is to foster economic, political, and social cooperation among its members. These countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

ASEAN plays an important influence in the area. It promotes economic integration through initiatives such as the ASEAN Economic Community, which improve trade and investment flows. The group also addresses security, climate change, and human rights. It has tried to create a single market, promote sustainable growth, and deepen ties with its international partners.

Despite obstacles such as managing divergent interests, ASEAN remains influential. Its combined market of approximately 650 million people, as well as its strategic location between India and China, lend it economic weight. The group’s goal is to maintain regional stability while furthering its members’ common interests on the global stage.

 

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