Updated Apr 24, 2021 - World

Southeast Asian leaders call for end to violence in Myanmar

Picture of soldiers standing on a street in Myanmar
Indonesian police guard the site of an ASEAN emergency meeting on Myanmar in Indonesia. Photo: Ed Wray/Getty Images

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Saturday called for an immediate end to the violence in Myanmar.

The big picture: ASEAN leaders, who met with Myanmar coup leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in an emergency summit in Jakarta, released a five-point consensus, which said "there shall be immediate cessation of violence" in Myanmar. Min Aung Hlaing did not immediately comment on the consensus.

Details: The five-point consensus also said that all involved parties "shall exercise utmost restraint."

  • They also agreed that all contending parties must engage in a peaceful dialogue, and a special ASEAN envoy will facilitate it and must be allowed to visit Myanmar to meet with all parties.
  • ASEAN member nations said they will provide humanitarian aid to Myanmar.
  • Of note: The consensus did not mention the release of political prisoners, which some leaders had demanded during the summit, per AP.

What they're saying: "We, as an ASEAN family, had a close discussion on the recent developments in Myanmar and expressed our deep concern on the situation in the country, including reports of fatalities and escalation of violence," the member nations said in a statement.

  • "We acknowledged ASEAN’s positive and constructive role in facilitating a peaceful solution in the interest of the people of Myanmar and their livelihoods."
  • "The situation in Myanmar is unacceptable and should not continue," Indonesian President Joko Widodo said during the emergency meeting, per AP. "Violence must be stopped, democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must be returned immediately. The interests of the people of Myanmar must always be the priority."
  • ASEAN leaders refrained from referring to the coup leader as Myanmar's head of state, a Southeast Asian diplomat told AP.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Min Aung Hlaing was "not opposed" to a visit from ASEAN officials or to receiving humanitarian aid, BBC reports.

  • "He said he heard us, he would take the points in which he considered helpful," Lee Hsien Loong said.

Worth noting: The messages conveyed during the meeting could be deemed a policy breach for the association as members are prohibited from interfering in other's domestic affairs.

  • But Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that because the Myanmar coup "jeopardizes the peace, security, and stability of ASEAN and the wider region" and there are international calls for an end to the coup, the policy should not lead to inaction, according to AP.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information on the five-point consensus.

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