The Straits Times says

Asean envoy for Myanmar a step forward

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When Myanmar's military leader Min Ang Hlaing agreed to accept an Asean special envoy at the grouping's hastily called summit on April 24 to discuss the post-coup developments in that country, few thought the process would be quite as easy as the announcements of the day may have seemed to suggest. Notoriously resistant to external interference - a former prime minister with a military background once famously told a previous meeting of Asean leaders that "in my house, I decide how my furniture is arranged" - the country's military rulers have even chosen long periods of isolation over engagement with the world if that meant abandoning their methods of running the state or yielding their privileges.

Against this backdrop, last week's announcement of Brunei's Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof as Special Envoy to help facilitate dialogue in the crisis is a small step forward. This is even though the junta's representation at the Asean ministerial meetings insisted that the envoy would not be allowed to engage with "terrorists" - their description of the ousted democratic leadership, some of whom have gathered under a so-called National Unity Government. That the junta, now styling itself as a caretaker government, reluctantly agreed to Mr Erywan over their preferred choice of a Thai diplomat in the role, means that he has to brace himself for a degree of resistance and stalling from Naypyidaw.

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