The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have reached a five-point consensus on the Myanmar coup crisis during their meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia over the weekend.
In a joint statement, ASEAN leaders demanded, “immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and (that) all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.”
“Constructive dialogue among all parties shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people,” the statement read.
A special envoy of the ASEAN chair shall “facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary-General of ASEAN,” in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian bloc added.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah from Brunei is the current chair of the regional bloc.
“The special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned,” it said.
“ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Center,” it added.
More than 700 people have been killed since the military coup in Myanmar began on February 1.
In a separate statement, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the five-point consensus reached by the ASEAN leaders seek to improve the situation in Myanmar.
Locsin stressed that Brunei’s role as ASEAN chairperson “puts it in a strong position to lead ASEAN as it offers assistance to Myanmar in ending violence, restoring peace, and facilitating its return to political normalcy.”
The regional bloc also reiterated calls for the immediate release of political prisoners in Myanmar, as well as the importance of Myanmar’s continued efforts to address the situation in Rakhine State, including the repatriation of Rohingya Muslim minority group.
Some one million Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, and the ASEAN leaders said their repatriation should be done in a safe and dignified manner in accordance with its bilateral agreements with Bangladesh.
In response to the ASEAN leaders’ call, Myanmar’s newly former National Unity Government welcomed the five-point consensus on the coup crisis, and stressed that they are waiting for a firm action by ASEAN to de-escalate the conflict.
“We eagerly await the engagement by the ASEAN Secretary General as mandated by this meeting. We look forward to a firm action by ASEAN to follow up it decisions and restore our democracy for our people and for the region,” it said.
Myanmar’s Chairman of the State Administration Council, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, also said that his country is focused on restoring peace and stability to improve the current situation, and that they would consider ASEAN’s positive and sound proposals, taking into account their domestic situation.
The ASEAN leaders’ meeting held on April 24 was presided by Bolkiah, and attended by Hlaing, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.
President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the summit but he designated Locsin as his Special Envoy to the meeting. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)