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Asean leaders reach five-point consensus on Myanmar crisis

ASEAN Media April 24, 2021

Leaders of Southeast Asian nations attend the ASEAN meeting on Saturday in Jakarta. Myanmar coup leader Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing is seated in the foreground at right. / BPMI Setpres

JAKARTA – Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached a consensus on five points towards resolving the crisis in Myanmar on Saturday, including starting a dialogue and ending violence, ASEAN chair Brunei said on Saturday.

Brunei said the consensus also included allowing humanitarian help in the country, releasing political prisoners and appointing a special ASEAN envoy to facilitate mediation of the dialogue process.

   The Asean Leaders’ Meeting was convened at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia, and was chaired by the Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

     The meeting was attended by leaders of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services and chair of the country’s newly formed State Administration Council Min Aung Hlaing.

   Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, while Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and Laotian PM Phankham Viphavanh sent their respective foreign ministers – Mr Don Pramudwinai and Mr Saleumxay Kommasith.

The summit was initiated by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the current ASEAN Chair.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the situation in Myanmar is “something that is unacceptable and must not continue,” adding that the violence must be stopped and democracy,   stability and peace in Myanmar restored. 

   “The interests of the Myanmar people must always be the priority,” the Indonesian president said.

He said he heard us, he would take the points in, which he considered helpful,” said    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Myanmar’s military chief.   “He wasnot opposed to ASEAN playing a constructive role, or an ASEAN delegation visit, or humanitarian assistance.”

But Lee added 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.” 

   “It’s beyond our expectation,” Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters.  “It’s good that he did not reject what was put forward by me and many other colleagues,” Muhyiddin said of Min Aung Hlaing.   He urged the coup leader to release all detainees promptly and unconditionally. “We realize that the success of ASEAN’s efforts on Myanmar very much depend on the willingness of the Tatmadaw to cooperate,” he said, referring to the Myanmar military.

   Malaysia put forward a three-point proposal including a de-escalation of the situation on the ground and an end to killing and violence against civilians.

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested three practical steps towards a solution for the Myanmar crisis

With many lessons learned from his win-win policies having successfully achieved a lasting peace and reconciliation between all warring sides in Cambodia, Hun Sen proposals emphasised the paramount importance of a cessation of violence on all sides and the exercise of the utmost restraint from all stake holders.

He suggested that Myanmar accept active intervention on the ground there by ASEAN starting with the dispatch of a special envoy to Myanmar from ASEAN to facilitate mediation and to help coordinate humanitarian assistance from ASEAN’s member nations.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh called on all ASEAN member nations to seek suitable solutions to the crisis in Myanmar. The premier asked all ASEAN member nations to collaborate closely at UN forums to mobilize support for the bloc’s efforts in approaching and finding suitable solutions to the issue.

    H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, as the Special Envoy of H.E. the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, proposed the establishment of a core group or the “Friends of the Chair” to help coordinate ASEAN’s efforts in addressing the situation in Myanmar and also suggested the ‘D4D’ concept as the way forward for Myanmar namely, de-escalating violence, delivering humanitarian assistance, discharge of detainees and dialogue, for development in Myanmar

Philippines Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin asserted that Myanmar must find peace on its own before it devolves into civilwar. “This is what Myanmar must avoid: geographical, political, social and national disintegration into warring ethnic parts. Myanmar on its own must find peace again.”

The top leaders of ASEAN spoke about the issues in Myanmar as a “family problem,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.

 “We recognize ASEAN’s positive and constructive role in facilitating (a) peaceful solution in the interests of the Myanmar people and their livelihood, for which we endorse the five-point consensus,” Brunei Darussalam, as the Chair of ASEAN,  said in a statement issued at the end of the ASEAN leaders’ meeting.

The five-point consensus calls for an immediate halt to violence in Myanmar and for all parties to exercise self-restraint, besides a constructive dialog among all interested parties to find a peaceful solution in the interests of the Myanmar people.

It also seeks the creation of an ASEAN special envoy to facilitate mediation and dialog with the help of the ASEAN Secretariat General, acceptance of ASEAN’s humanitarian assistance through the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Center), and a visit by the special envoy and a delegation to Myanmar to meet with all parties involved in the crisis.

In the ASEAN chairman’s statement, ASEAN leaders also expressed deep concerns over the situation in Myanmar, including reports of casualties and an escalation of tensions.

They also called for the release of all political detainees, including foreign nationals detained in Myanmar.

The ASEAN leader’s meeting is the first coordinated international effort to specifically discuss a solution to the crisis in Myanmar, which has been engulfed in conflict and violence in the wake of the military coup, on Feb 1.

Small protests outside the bloc’s Jakarta headquarters were dispersed by security personnel

National Union Government  Welcomes ASEAN Call To End Myanmar Violence YANGON, April 26 – Myanmar’s shadow government of ousted lawmakers – known as the National Unity Government (NUG)  -has welcomed a call by Southeast Asian leaders for an end to “military violence” after their crisis talks in Jakarta with junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.  A spokesperson from the shadow government on Saturday said ASEAN’s statement was “encouraging news”.

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