Omicron threatens Cambodia’s plans as chair of ASEAN

Attempts to bring Myanmar back into the fold are already facing delays.

The spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is threatening Cambodia’s agenda as chair of ASEAN and could undermine attempts to bring Myanmar back into the regional fold in the wake of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s controversial “peace visit” to the conflict-torn country.

That visit was sharply criticized by human rights groups for legitimizing the junta, which was banned from attending ASEAN summits after the military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi through a coup staged on Feb. 1 last year.

Analysts said the first test would be whether ministers in General Min Aung Hlaing’s administration would be allowed to attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Siem Reap on Jan. 18-19. However, that meeting has been indefinitely postponed due to Omicron.

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