Myanmar junta chief excluded from ASEAN summit
Myanmar junta chief excluded from ASEAN summit

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Myanmar's junta chief will be excluded from an upcoming ASEAN summit, the group said Saturday, a rare rebuke as concerns rise over the military government's commitment to defusing a bloody crisis.

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed at an emergency meeting late Friday that a "non-political representative" for Myanmar would be invited to the October 26-28 summit, current ASEAN chair Brunei said in a statement.

The decision effectively excluded junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.

The Myanmar junta slammed the decision on Saturday evening, accusing ASEAN of breaching its policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of member states.

"Myanmar is extremely disappointed and strongly objected (to) the outcomes of the emergency foreign ministers meeting, as the discussions and decision on Myanmar's representation issue was done without consensus and was against the objectives of ASEAN," the Myanmar Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, junta spokesman brigadier general Zaw Min Tun told the BBC Burmese section that "interference" from non-ASEAN countries had also been a factor.

He seized on talks between the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and ASEAN special envoy, Brunei's Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof, ahead of the meeting and also singled out EU pressure.

The bloc, widely criticised as a toothless organisation, took a strong stand after the junta rebuffed requests that a special envoy meet with "all stakeholders" in Myanmar - a phrase seen to include ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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