Urging countries like India and China to help steer Myanmar's military junta towards democratic reforms, the southeast Asian nations on Friday made it clear they could no longer defend Yangon's authoritarian regime and said that the issue be best left to the United Nations.
In an indication that the ASEAN's patience was running out, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar of Malaysia, a member of the powerful regional grouping, said, "The ASEAN will let the UN play the pivotal role in solving the Myanmar issue as that country prefers the world body to the ASEAN (to deal with the issue)."
Countries like India and China could play a major role in persuading the junta towards democratic reforms, he said.
"Myanmar does not want us to stand with them. Myanmar has invited UN Under Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari to go to Yangon and meet with all the people who matter. When we sent our delegate, we could not meet.
"This means that Myanmar does not need us for solving their issue. So it is best that it is handled by UN," Syed Hamid said after launching the International Media Centre for the Asean Ministerial Meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, here.
"ASEAN now has reached a stage where it is not possible to defend its member when that member is not making an attempt to cooperate or help itself," the minister said in a speech at a conference on Myanmar.