ASEAN reaches consensus on ending Myanmar crisis
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 24 April 2021 4:20 PM
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has made an agreement with Myanmar's coup leader on a plan to end the crisis in the country.
Leaders of the 10 ASEAN member states met with Min Aung Hlaing at a summit in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, on Saturday.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said after the meeting it had been fortunate that the junta leader "did not reject what was put forward by me and many other colleagues."
"It's beyond our expectation."
Brunei, the current chair of ASEAN, said in a statement that a consensus had been reached on five points â€“ ending violence, a constructive dialog among all parties, a special ASEAN envoy to facilitate the dialog, acceptance of aid and a visit by the envoy to Myanmar.
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said of the junta chief, "He said he heard us, he would take the points in, which he considered helpful."
"He was not opposed to ASEAN playing a constructive role, or an ASEAN delegation visit, or humanitarian assistance," Lee said, adding that there was no immediate comment from Min Aung Hlaing.
Lee said the process had a long way to go "because there's one thing to say you'll cease violence and release political prisoners; it's another thing to get it done."
As the ASEAN leaders sat down with the junta leader, Myanmar's protesters â€” angered by the military chief's invitation to the summit â€” took to the streets across the country.
A demonstration on motorbikes turned violent by the afternoon, when police and soldiers opened fire on the people who were driving outside the capital Naypyidaw.
A 50-year-old protester was detained and killed, a witness told AFP.
"Police held him on each side, then a soldier shot him in the back."
"I want to deliver a message to the ASEAN leaders... do not support him," the protester said, referring to the junta leader.
And on Friday night, two people were killed in the southern city of Thaton.
More than 740 people have been killed since the February 1 coup, according to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a Twitter message that representatives "in the [@UN] Security Council eagerly await the outcome of the @ASEAN meeting on Burma, which deserves serious and immediate attention."
ASEAN has been under fire for legitimizing the junta leader by inviting him to the summit.
Huong Le Thu, of the Australian Strategic Policy Initiative, said, "Formal representation of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) at the ASEAN summit, without giving any concessions in return, including first and foremost a commitment to stop the bloodshed, is not constructive."
The summit was the first coordinated international effort to ease tensions in Myanmar since the junta deposed de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and imprisoned her along with other political leaders.
The military government justifies the coup by alleging widespread fraud in November 2020 elections.
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