Conflicts & War

Myanmar’s junta agrees to end violence against civilians

(Update 2: Adds Myanmar response, info)

Jakarta, Apr 24 (EFE).- Myanmar ruling military junta on Saturday pledged to end violence against civilians and engage in inclusive talks at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Jakarta.

The Asean leaders, including the head of Myanmar’s army, agreed on a five-point statement that says the Burmese military will end the violent crackdown on protesters and engage in an inclusive dialogue to resolve the crisis triggered by a military coup in February.

Myanmar’s junta also agreed to allow a special envoy to visit the country and mediate the conflict between the military and civilian leaders.

A key demand of Indonesia and Singapore, who were among the countries that were most critical of the Burmese regime, was the release of political prisoners, including elected leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and most of her ministers.

The Jakarta 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.

Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the summit could be considered a “success” following Myanmar’s unexpected agreement to the plan to end violence against civilians, saying it was “beyond our expectations.”

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.

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. EFE


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