Thailand initiated “solution” to Myanmar Crisis
BANGKOK – Thailand has proposed the importance of dialogues and trust to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Myanmar, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said.
“There must still be attempts from the international community especially its neighbours to find a solution. Our solution is to find a way to establish working relations (between the two sides),” Don said in an interview with Asia News Network in Bangkok.
“It’s best for them to walk forward together, as it had proven throughout recent years that by sticking together, trying to depend on one another, or even with sporadic conflicts at times, it is the optimum option for their country,” the Thai foreign minister, said.
These point were conveyed to Myanmar Foreign Ministry’s representative U Wanna Maung Lwin by Don during a tete-a-tete discussion before they were joined by Indonesian Foreign MinisterRetno Marsudi at Bangkok Don Muang Airport on Feb 24.
Asked whether there has been progress, Don said the Tatmadaw, which the Myanmar armed forces are called, would have to assess the situation. “Everyone wants it to end quickly. But they should remember that it has only been a month and many incidents and issues in the past – none ended quickly.”
Thailand has been subject to widespread criticisms especially in social media of its relative silence on the Myanmar crisis. Its and Asean’s intervention is unprecedented in the history of the regional bloc which has since its inception adhere to the principle of “non-intervention” in the domestic affairs of member states.
The Thai proposed solution to the Myanmar crisis which sprang from the military coup on Feb 1 differs from those made by the international community and Asean and has been conveyed to other Asean members and the superpowers including the US and Japan, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry source.
“Ours is not the only option which Myanmar has…we know they have others (channel). But the progress depends what happen on the streets with the protests,” said the source.
Protests through the Civil Disobedient Movement (CDM) including strikes by workers and civil servants is now in the 38th day with more than 60 people have been killed due to violent and arbitrary crackdowns and more than 2,000 arrests, according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
The source said the escalation of violence the streets, or more sanctions will only prolong the path towards the effort to establish dialogue among all the conflicting parties. The Thai side believes that the solution will have to be based on the appreciation and respect for the long history of Myanmar and its political realities.
Although many NLD senior members including its leader Aung San Suu Kyi are under arrest, the Thai side believed that the Tatmadaw can establish communication with other members to inch themselves towards a workable resolution to return to normalcy at earliest opportunity.
The Thai Foreign Ministry source said issue on the official recognition of the Tatmadaw-appointed government or others are in the peripheral with the effort to have both sides establishing a dialogue a priority.
Don said it was paramount that “trust” between all parties concerned. “We have to understand them, and to convey that Myanmar can return to normalcy. “We don’t want to see bloodshed on the streets. It has to be a win-win situation”
Thailand has also made known to the Tatmadaw that there should be restraint on violence, de-escalate and not escalate, and find way to negotiate a settlement, he said.
But Thailand conceded that the escalation of violence is worrisome as it will lead to strong reactions from the international community especially western nations resulting in more sanctions and more step-up reactions which may result in the spiraling and unending crisis. And this will lead to more external interventions whether it be moral, financing to support the protests but could also lead to arms and weapons or other unknowns, said a Thai source.
Such could lead to more violent protests and even rising armed ethnic activities which would eventually affect Thailand as a neighbour and Asean as whole. “So our view is that all the conflicting parties must establish a dialogue because we don’t think any one party would gain from chaos nor the threat of instability where it might lead to, and to what unpredictable level ,” he said.
“And In this tech era, threats endangering a state could come from anywhere. It must not happen. This is one of the reasons why we hasten to find a way for all sides to talk,” said the source.
The source said Thailand is not acting alone in its endeavour to bring an end to the Myanmar crisis but to “bring our friends, Asean, on board to help to speak and act as a base for Asean to begin a channel of communication and other countries to join in.
China is known to be trying to find a solution to the crisis as Myanmar is also it’s neighbour. An effort which Bangkok welcomes.