ASEAN countries call for immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar

Southeast Asian leaders meet at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on April 24. Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing is seated in the foreground at right. © Indonesian presidential office via AP

Southeast Asian leaders meet with Myanmar military leader in Jakarta  (Indonesian presidential office)

JAKARTA: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders have called for an immediate end to the violence against protesters in Myanmar and for special envoys to be sent to push for inclusive dialogue there.

At their in-person meeting in Jakarta with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s military leader, the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations reached a “five-point consensus” on the following:

First, there shall be immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.

Second, constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.

Third, a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

Fourth, ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre.

Fifth, the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.

However, the statement showed the leaders did not reach a consensus on calling for the release of Suu Kyi and other political leaders detained by the military following the coup.

The meeting, chaired by Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, was convened “with the view to advance ASEAN Community building, hasten recovery from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic, strengthen ASEAN’s external relations and address pressing issues of common interest to all ASEAN Member States.”

Although Brunei, as the current ASEAN Chair, had issued the invitations for the face-to-face meeting, the sessions took place at the ASEAN Secretariat building in Jakarta.

It was the first known trip abroad by General Min Aung Hlaing since he took over in February. The fact that he accepted the ASEAN summit statement calling for an end to the violence and the start of dialogue with the opposition has been seen as a positive step.

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