Southeast Asian leaders call for ‘immediate cessation of violence’ in Myanmar
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Southeast Asian leaders call for ‘immediate cessation of violence’ in Myanmar

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders on Saturday held a meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, where they called for an “immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar.” While the meeting addressed several region-specific economic, sociocultural and COVID-19-related issues, the focal point was the situation in Myanmar.

The meeting was chaired by Brunei’s head of state Hassanal Bolkiah and attended by the leaders of all 10 ASEAN member States. Myanmar’s Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was in attendance, this being the first time he left the country since the February 1 coup. The invitation was criticized by the newly-formed National Unity Government (NUG), which asserted that the action was tantamount to legitimizing Min Aung Hlaing’s political position. It also called on the Interpol to arrest him in Jakarta. Min Aung Hlaing’s presence at the meeting led to protests outside the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. 

The members reached a five-point consensus, as mentioned in the chairman’s statement:

First, there shall be immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.

Second, constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.

Third, a special envoy of the ASEAN Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary- General of ASEAN.

Fourth, ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the AHA Centre.

Fifth, the special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.

The non-interference principle in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia Indonesia serves as the foundation of ASEAN. At the meeting, however, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stated that ASEAN member States were faced with increasing pressure from the international community to address the escalating situation in Myanmar. Indonesian President Joko Widodo had also stated that the situation in Myanmar was overdue for correction and that the protection of the citizens must be prioritized.

Min Aung Hlaing did not provide a public statement after the summit.