Jakarta, Jul 14 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have called for peace, dialogue and respect for international law amid conflicts around the world such as in Ukraine, Myanmar and the South China Sea.
The bloc late Thursday released a joint communique in Jakarta during the week-long meeting of the foreign ministers of the region and their external partners, which ends Friday.
“With regard to Ukraine, as for all nations, we continued to reaffirm our respect for sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity,” the statement said, also calling for the protection of civilians, humanitarian workers and vulnerable people.
“We reiterated our call for compliance with the UN Charter and international law. We underlined the importance of an immediate cessation of hostilities and the serious engagement in a genuine dialogue for the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” it added
However, the text did not expressly mention Russia as the invader of Ukraine, in a possible attempt to remain neutral.
The ministers also condemned the violence, including air and artillery strikes, in Myanmar and urged “all parties” to cease the violence and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.
“We reaffirmed ASEAN’s continued support for Myanmar’s efforts to bring peace, stability, the rule of law, promote harmony and reconciliation among the various communities, as well as ensure sustainable and equitable development in Rakhine State,” the statement said.
The ministers did not condemn the 2021 coup by the military junta, nor did they mention that these same soldiers are accused of crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine.
The foreign ministers also expressed their concern about the “incidents” in the South China Sea, where Beijing has sovereignty disputes with several ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.
“Concerns were expressed by some ministers on the land reclamations, activities, serious incidents in the area, including actions that put the safety of all persons at risk, damage to the marine environment, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions, and may undermine peace, security, and stability in the region,” they said, urging “self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”
They called for dialogue and respect for international laws, while trusting in the progress of the negotiations for a code of conduct with Beijing to avoid conflicts in the Sea.
The ASEAN representatives also advocated dialogue and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and said that Israel and Palestine can coexist while respecting the pre-1976 borders under a two-state solution.
On Friday morning, on the meeting’s final day, President Joko Widodo told the delegates their goal is to “find the resolution of regional problems, against the problems of the world, not vice versa, let alone making the problems worse.”
“We in ASEAN are committed to strengthening the unity and solidity and centrality of ASEAN in maintaining stability in the region. ASEAN should not be an arena for competition. It should not be a proxy of any country and international law must be respected consistently. For this reason, we expect work and real support from ASEAN partners and guests,” he said.
The ministers held bloc meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday and bilateral meetings on Thursday with their partners from the United States, China, Russia, Australia and the European Union, among others.
On Friday, ASEAN representatives and their external partners will share dialogue tables at two multilateral events, the ASEAN Security Forum and the East Asia Foreign Affairs meeting.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell are set to attend.
Borrell is also scheduled to meet Wang, whose country strongly criticized the NATO summit held this week in the Lithuanian capital.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN is made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and has set out a roadmap for the inclusion of East Timor this year. EFE