ASEAN leaders reach consensus on Myanmar crisis

Southeast Asian leaders met Myanmar’s top general and coup leader in an emergency summit in Indonesia Saturday, April 24, 2021. (Laily Rachev, Indonesian Presidential Palace via AP)

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached a five-point consensus on the crisis in Myanmar on Saturday, calling for an immediate cessation of violence in the country and a dialogue among all parties concerned to seek a peaceful solution.

The ASEAN leaders, meeting for the first time on the Myanmar crisis in Jakarta under Brunei’s chairmanship, also called for an ASEAN special envoy to facilitate mediation and dialogue and to visit Myanmar.

“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,” the ASEAN chairman Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah said in a statement issued at the end of the meeting

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

The ASEAN leaders also seek the creation of an ASEAN special envoy to facilitate mediation and dialogue with the help of the ASEAN Secretary-General while offering ASEAN’s humanitarian assistance to Myanmar.

They also propose a visit by the special envoy and a delegation to Myanmar to meet with all parties involved in the crisis.

Myanmar agreed to end violence against civilians

Myanmar has accepted a proposal to stop violence against civilians, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Saturday after an ASEAN meeting on the crisis in Myanmar. Malaysian news agency Bernama quoted him as saying that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting was a success beyond their expectation in getting the outcome from today’s meeting.

The summit came as casualties in Myanmar continued to mount with pro-democracy protesters taking to the streets to demand an end to the military dictatorship.  Myanmar was represented at the summit by military junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing who Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said was not opposed to a visit by a delegation from the ASEAN.

“He said he heard us, he would take the points in which he considered helpful, that he was not opposed to ASEAN playing a constructive role, or an ASEAN delegation visit, or humanitarian assistance, and that they would move forward and engage with ASEAN in a constructive way,” Lee said in comments reported by broadcaster Channel NewsAsia.

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.


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