(Phnom Penh): The two-days visit paid by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, and his delegation to Myanmar, at the invitation of His Excellency Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Chairman of the State Administration Council and Prime Minister of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, from 7 to 8 January 2022 concluded unexpectedly successfully. The result was beyond what a group of ignorant expected, since in the visit of the SPM and 2022 ASEAN Chair, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has confirmed that the Myanmar’s government had declared a five-month ceasefire with all Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) until the end of February 2022 and decided to further extend it until the end of 2022.

The truce was an important step, as embodied in the ASEAN five-point consensus. This spelled a “positive start” and a forward step made by the ASEAN nations in their efforts to normalize Myanmar, especially in their attempt to save the Myanmar military soldiers and ordinary people from “loss of lives,” injuries, “loss of their love ones” and evacuations from home due to the armed conflicts.
The military government’s ceasefire was a crucial result, and the Myanmar’s Senior General called on all parties to accept the ceasefire in the interest of the country and people, ended all acts of violence and exercised utmost restraint, a move SPM Hun Sen strongly supported in a view to deescalating tension and enable constructive dialogues among relevant stakeholders to achieve enduring peace and national development. In this regard, the Senior General welcomed the participation of the special envoy of the ASEAN Chiarman on Myanmar to join the ceasefire talks with and among the EAOs.

The government-initiated truce and the participation of all relevant groups are crucial in their quest for peace finding, as experiences showed that conflict cannot “end with gunpoint,” but through dialogues. SPM Hun Sen had plenty of experiences on this issue since he had begun his salvage journey to rescue his own nation and people by risking his life and was the one who instigated the peace dialogue for Cambodia, and most notably, what the world recognized him the most was him being the “founder of Cambodia peace” through his Win-Win Policy, which spelled an end to the chronical conflict, bringing complete peace and national reconciliation for his nation and people, and making Cambodia residing under “one constitution, one government and one united armed force” – the first ever in the country’s last 500 years history.

In the meeting with the Chairman of the State Administration Council and Prime Minister of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, SPM Hun Sen shared Cambodia’s Win-Win Policy success in achieving national reconciliation, lasting peace, stability, development and prosperity. He also stressed that based on the experiences and lessons learned from Cambodia’s peace process, complete peace and national reconciliation cannot be achieved without participation and agreement from all concerned parties. In this spirit, Senior General has assured the facilitation of the visit of the special envoy to Myanmar and to meet with all parties involved including the EAOs, taking into account of the prevailing situation in Myanmar.

All involved parties needed to accept the ceasefire, as it was meant to save “lives” and to prevent harmful acts and revenges. The respect of the truce would be the foundation in the peace-finding quest and national reconciliation, and would allow all concerned parties to “seat together” in mutual understanding, leading to the complete conflict resolution. Anyone who was against this ceasefire tended for Myanmar to see more casualties and prolonged conflict, and wanted to see the country to fall into full thrust of conflicts, which would see “more tragic loss of lives,” especially the lives of women and children.

Furthermore, SPM’s visit to Myanmar also succeeded in strengthening the efficiency of the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Myanmar people, especially to the people who were most in need of help; both Cambodian and Myanmar leaders supported the convening of a meeting among stakeholders, such as the special envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the representative of the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management Centre (AHA Centre), the Myanmar National Task Force to Facilitate Provision of Humanitarian Assistance through the AHA Centre, the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and the relevant United Nations Specialized Agencies. The two sides acknowledged the critical important for the COVID-19 vaccination programme along with the provision of humanitarian assistance effectively to the people in need without discrimination, as nothing was more important than saving people’s lives.

Humanitarian assistance was most-needed for Myanmar’s refugees and other people. All concerned parties must not disrupt the effort, since the vulnerable people were in need of it. If someone was against such humanitarian assistance, the person must want to see his/her own people dying of starvation and due to lack of medication, pushing Myanmar people into dilemma – in armed conflicts vs starvation and lack of medication.

With such “great success” brought by the SPM’s visit to Myanmar, new hopes have been handed to the Myanmar people, and it is expected that the world would congratulate and recognize this fruitful result, which would “pave” a long way to bring normal life to Myanmar – a move would see the ASEAN be in even high solidarity, as well as maintaining its Consensus and ASEAN Ten Principles, the great foundation of the Association. Thank SPM Hun Sen, who initiated such a valuable effort to bring about peace and national reconciliation to Myanmar.

By Chao Chak Smok,
Phnom Penh, 8 January 2022