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Indonesia Brings Up Myanmar Issue to Asean Chair Brunei


Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi meets with her Bruneian counterpart Erywan Yusof and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, on Feb. 17, 2021. (Photo courtesy of @Menlu_RI)

Jakarta. Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi recently brought the Myanmar issue to Brunei Darussalam, who is currently holding the Asean chairmanship.

The Indonesian top diplomat met with her Bruneian counterpart Erywan Yusof and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at Bandar Seri Begawan on Wednesday. 

Retno’s visit to Brunei was at President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s behest. During a recent bilateral meeting in Jakarta, both Jokowi and Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin agreed to send their foreign ministers to urge the Asean to hold a special meeting on the coup.

Many nations have expressed their concerns against the military takeover and the detainment of de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But Retno warned this was not enough to help the fellow Asean member state to get out of the crisis.

“Expressing concern is one thing, but the question is what can Indonesia and Asean do to help Myanmar get out of the delicate situation?” the diplomat told a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.

Indonesia holds on to the non-interference principles when addressing Myanmar’s political turmoil.

“We will prioritize constructive engagement, the safety and prosperity of the Myanmar people, and contribute to find the best solution for the Myanmar people. This includes assisting an inclusive democratic transition,” Retno said.

“Indonesia believes Asean mechanism is the most appropriate way to help Myanmar get out of this delicate situation.”

Since the coup dawned, Indonesia has always been referring to the Asean charter, specifically Article 1 (7). The article reads, “the purpose of Asean is to strengthen democracy, enhance good governance and the rule of law, and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, with due regard to the rights and responsibilities of the member states of the Asean”. 

Retno added that Indonesia and Asean have garnered international support in regards to the Myanmar issue, including from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

“This becomes a must for Indonesia to consult with fellow Asean member states to once again discuss what Asean can do,” Retno said.

According to Retno, Sultan Hassanal echoed the same view that foreign ministers of the bloc should hold a meeting on Myanmar.

“The Asean chair had held a virtual meeting with Myanmar on February 11. The Asean chair will communicate and consult with other member states on what can be done to help Myanmar.” 

The chaos in Myanmar has yet to show any sign of receding. According to Al Jazeera, Suu Kyi is facing another charge under the country’s natural disaster management law. Previously, the Myanmar Police had already filed charges against Suu Kyi for possessing illegally-imported walkie-talkies.


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