Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, in his capacity as the ASEAN chair’s special envoy on Myanmar, is scheduled to lead a working visit to the bloc’s westernmost country on March 21-22, at the invitation of the ruling State Administration Council (SAC), according to the foreign ministry.
The ministry noted in a March 18 statement that Sokhonn is to be accompanied by industry minister Cham Prasidh, ASEAN secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi, ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) executive director Lee Yam Ming, senior government officials, and ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) and AHA Centre staff.
“The first visit of the special envoy to Myanmar will be aimed at creating favourable conditions leading to the end of violence as well as the utmost restraint by all parties; distributing humanitarian assistance with the support and coordination from ASEC and AHA Centre; and encouraging political consultations and dialogues among all parties concerned,” the statement said.
Without elaborating further, it said the visit would “take into consideration” ASEAN’s five-point consensus (5PC), as well as the outcomes of the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s January 7-8 working visit to Myanmar, and the premier’s discussions with SAC chairman Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
Pa Chanroeun, president of the NGO Cambodian Institute for Democracy, said on March 20 that Sokhonn’s visit to Myanmar this week will be another important chapter in the story of Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship.
“I believe that this visit will be even more productive than that paid by the Prime Minister. This trip will also re-establish the relationship between the ASEAN chair and the incumbent Myanmar leadership, which is an important step in finding a mutually beneficial way out of the crisis,” he said.
This visit would also determine a means of providing humanitarian relief to the people of Myanmar, who are not only dealing with the situation on the ground but also with the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.