Hun Sen set for Myanmar visit as envoy warns of looming civil war

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is preparing for a visit to crisis-wracked Myanmar even as his top diplomat warned that the Southeast Asian country has “all the ingredients for civil war”.

Hun Sen, whose country this year holds the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will visit Myanmar on Friday and Saturday.

ASEAN has been spearheading diplomatic efforts to tackle the turmoil in Myanmar since the country’s military toppled the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi and seized power in a coup last year. But the bloc has failed to make substantial progress for dialogue between the opposing sides even as violence escalates in the country.

At least 1,435 people have been killed in a security force crackdown on anti-coup protests, while fighting has erupted in Myanmar’s border areas between the military and ethnic armed groups and civilian militias opposed to the power grab.

On Monday, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who has also been appointed ASEAN’s special envoy on Myanmar, described the outlook in the country as dire.

“The political and security crisis in Myanmar is deepening, and has led to (an) economic, health and humanitarian crisis,” he said.

“We feel that all the ingredients for civil war are now on the table.

“There are now two governments, there are several armed forces, people are undergoing what they call the civil disobedience movement and (there is) guerrilla warfare around the country.”

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