PHNOM PENH (UPDATE) — Cambodia, this year's ASEAN chair, said Tuesday the execution by Myanmar's military junta of 4 pro-democracy and opposition leaders made the 10-member group "extremely troubled and deeply saddened."
The issue, linked to the Myanmar coup in 2021, is likely to draw attention ahead of a series of meetings of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its dialogue partners such as Japan, China and the United States in Cambodia in early August.
Cambodia said in a statement the executions are "highly reprehensible" as they set back efforts, particularly by the ASEAN chair, to expedite progress on implementation of the so-called 5-Point Consensus to seek peace in Myanmar through dialogue rather than violence.
"While the complexity of the crisis is well recognized and the extreme bellicose mood can be felt from all corners of Myanmar, ASEAN as a whole has called for utmost restraint, patience and efforts to avoid escalating the situation," the statement said.
The Philippines' foreign ministry said it backs the statement, disclosing that Manila "participated in drafting that and joined in the consensus (minus Myanmar obviously)."
The 4 people executed Monday in an act that drew swift international condemnation include Phyo Zeyar Thaw, 41, a former National League for Democracy lawmaker, and Kyaw Min Yu, 53, a prominent pro-democracy activist widely known as Jimmy.
There had been no executions of political prisoners in Myanmar since 1976 and the most recent instance of capital punishment occurred in 1990, according to local media.
The United Nations, European countries and the United States as well as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had called on the junta not to carry out the executions.
Myanmar courts are now under military control and court hearings have been closed to the public, leading critics to question the impartiality of the judicial process.
ASEAN, meanwhile, said it remains resolved to assist Myanmar's return to normalcy and democratic transition and to find a peaceful political solution to the current crisis through inclusive dialogue that is Myanmar-led and Myanmar-owned, in line with the 5-Point Consensus and the ASEAN charter.
ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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