ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet on COVID-19 pandemic, inclusive economic recovery kicks off

Phnom Penh [Cambodia], February 17 (ANI): The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting (AMM Retreat) kicked off here on Thursday in a hybrid format to discuss issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, inclusive economic recovery and relations with dialogue partners.

Chaired by Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, the retreat was attended in person by Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Laos, and online by Foreign Ministers of Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam, while Myanmar did not designate a non-political representative for it, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son attended the meeting online after testing positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival to Cambodia on Wednesday afternoon, Cambodian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Chum Sounry said on Thursday.

“Vietnam’s FM is attending online from his room. We made proper health and medical arrangements for him,” he said in a text message sent to the media by telegram, as per the news agency. It is the first in-person ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting after an over-a-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The gathering was initially scheduled to take place in January but was postponed after Cambodia clashed with other nations over its position on Myanmar.

Discussions are expected to include how to realize the “Five-Point Consensus” concerning Myanmar following the military coup in February last year, reported NHK World. The consensus was agreed to at an ASEAN summit-level meeting last year. Among its proposals are an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and dialogue among all parties concerned mediated by an ASEAN special envoy, reported NHK World.

The country is in turmoil since the coup on February 1, when the Myanmar military led by Senior General Ming Aung Hlaing overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency. The coup triggered mass protests and was met by deadly violence throughout the country.

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