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ASEAN leaders to hold emergency meeting on Myanmar crisis: Brunei

Iran Press TV

Monday, 05 April 2021 9:53 AM

Officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries are set to hold an emergency meeting to discuss a solution to the ongoing unrest in Myanmar.

The Southeast Asian country has plunged into chaos since the February 1 coup that ousted the de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Brunei, the chair of the ASEAN countries, said on Monday that it had asked officials to make preparations for a meeting of the ASEAN member states in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Indonesia has led efforts by leaders of ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, to encourage a negotiated solution, despite a longstanding policy of not commenting on members' domestic problems.

In a joint statement with Malaysia, Brunei said both countries have asked their ministers and senior officials to undertake "necessary preparations for the meeting that will be held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia."

The statement followed a meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Monday.

They did not say when the meeting would be held. Both leaders expressed concern over the rising number of fatalities in a brutal military crackdown against protesters in Myanmar.

"They urged all parties to refrain from instigating further violence, and for all sides to immediately exercise utmost restraint and flexibility," according to the statement.

ASEAN operates by consensus but the divergent views of its 10 members on how to respond to the junta's deadly crackdown, combined with the group's policy of non-interference, has limited its ability to act.

Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore have all voiced concern over the crackdown on protesters and support an urgent high-level meeting on Myanmar.

Their foreign ministers each separately held talks last week with their counterpart in China, Myanmar's influential northern neighbor.

Beijing, for its part, has also expressed alarm over the violent unrest in Myanmar and said it will support a special meeting of Southeast Asian leaders to mediate to resolve the current crisis in the country.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after his meeting with Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Thursday that China supported mediatory efforts.

However, he noted that the international community should not "meddle in Myanmar's internal affairs."

Wang expressed hope that "different forces in Myanmar can start a dialogue as soon as possible based on the long-term interests of their country, to solve divergence under the framework of the law and the constitution and promote hard-won democratization."

Since the coup, Myanmar's junta forces have shot and killed more than 550 protesters and detained tens of hundreds more.

Of those killed in the heavy-handed crackdown, 46 have been children, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group.

Anti-coup protesters have been on the streets on a daily basis, demanding that Suu Kyi's government be reinstated.



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