Asean leaders urge Myanmar junta to end violence
Jakarta, Apr 24 (EFE).- Southeast Asian leaders on Saturday urged the Myanmar army to end a deadly crackdown on protesters who are denouncing a military coup in February.
At a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Jakarta, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said that he had proposed five points of consensus during the summit, including “ending military violence”, “releasing political prisoners” and “starting an inclusive dialogue process immediately.”
The summit, the first international meeting held to address the situation in Myanmar, was held behind closed doors with the participation of Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military junta in the country. Neither Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte or Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attended.
“The development of the situation in Myanmar is unacceptable and should not continue. The violence must end and democracy, stability and peace restored in Myanmar immediately,” Widodo said.
Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said the group should ensure the region’s peace and stability and that it cannot remain indifferent to the situation in Myanmar.
“Silence and inaction would undermine Asean’s centrality, credibility and relevance,” Lee said, adding that the bloc wants to help Myanmar resolve the crisis provoked by the coup.
Countries such as Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia have strongly condemned the brutal repression carried out by the Myanmar security forces against civilian demonstrations protesting the junta, with at least 745 people being killed since the coup.
While another faction with Thailand – represented at the summit by its foreign minister – Cambodia and Laos have appeared more sympathetic to the junta, insisting the crisis is an internal issue.
On Feb. 1, the Myanmar military overthrew the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held in prison since, alleging electoral fraud following a landslide win for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. EFE