Naypyitaw [Myanmar], October 24 (ANI): After the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) excluded military top commander Min Aung Hlaing from taking part in a summit this week, Myanmar's junta on Sunday pledged to cooperate "as much as possible" with a peace plan agreed with the regional bloc.
In an announcement in state media, the junta said it upholds the principle of peaceful coexistence with other countries and would cooperate with the ASEAN in following a five-point "consensus" agreed in April, reported Bangkok Post.
In the announcement, Myanmar's rulers first reaffirmed their own five-point plan for restoring democracy, which they announced after the coup.
The military insists it is the legitimate authority in Myanmar and its takeover was not a coup, but a necessary and lawful intervention against a threat to sovereignty posed by Aung San Suu Kyi's party, which it said won a fraudulent election last year, reported Bangkok Post.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers decided on October 15 to sideline Min Aung Hlaing, leader of a February 1 Myanmar coup, for his failure to implement that plan, which included ending hostilities, initiating dialogue, allowing humanitarian support and granting a special envoy full access to the country.
The junta struck back late on Friday, accusing ASEAN of departing from its principles on consensus and non-interference.
It refused to agree to send a politically neutral Myanmar representative instead of Min Aung Hlaing. Meanwhile, ASEAN chair Brunei has not responded to Myanmar's rejection, reported Bangkok Post.
The exclusion of Min Aung Hlaing is an unprecedented snub from a bloc long criticised for being tardy and ineffective at dealing with member governments accused of atrocities.
More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in a post-coup crackdown in Myanmar, with thousands more detained, many tortured or beaten, according to the United Nations, citing activists. The junta is accused of using excessive military force against civilian populations. (ANI)