The Cambodian Prime Minister will begin a two-day visit to Myanmar on Friday. His trip appears to be part of an effort to address the issue of Myanmar’s absence from summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Cambodia holds the rotating presidency of ASEAN this year. The government has announced that Prime Minister Hun Sen will meet with Myanmar’s military leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
He added that they “will discuss and exchange views on bilateral and multilateral cooperation and recent developments within ASEAN.”
ASEAN banned Min Aung Hlaing, who led the coup last February, from attending its summits last year.
Reasons ASEAN cited for the ban included the military’s continued crackdown on pro-democracy activists and its reluctance to accept the bloc’s efforts to mediate a path to peace in the country.
The Burmese army protested against the exclusion of Min Aung Hlaing, refusing to send a representative in his place.
Hun Sen stressed the importance of maintaining unity among the ASEAN countries, expressing his willingness to see Myanmar return to the leaders’ meetings.
Attention is focused on whether he will be able to pave the way for other ASEAN countries to accept Myanmar’s return to the summits.
Hun Sen has indicated he may extend his stay in Myanmar, suggesting he is ready to work hard in the negotiations.