ASEAN Leaders Urge Myanmar Military to End Violence at Jakarta Summit

Leaders from ASEAN nations meet in Jakarta to discuss the situation in Myanmar. (Photo: AP)
Leaders from ASEAN nations meet in Jakarta to discuss the situation in Myanmar. (Photo: AP)

Leaders from countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met with Myanmar’s top general in Jakarta for an emergency summit on Saturday to discuss an end to violence in the country.

Myanmar’s Senior General Min Aung Hlaing arrived in Singapore on Saturday morning for the talks with presidents and prime ministers from six other ASEAN countries.

Laos, Thailand, and the Philippines sent their foreign ministers in place of leaders, while the summit was chaired by His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam.

The ASEAN leaders demanded an end to the killings, pressing the General to accept a five-point consensus to end the violence and begin a constructive dialogue, as well as accepting humanitarian assistance.

According to a Chairman’s Statement released last evening, five main points of consensus were made.

Ending Violence
According to the consensus, there shall be an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar
and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.

Constructive Dialogue
Constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence seeking a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.

Special Envoy
A special envoy of the ASEAN Chair shall facilitate mediation of the dialogue process, with the assistance of the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

Humanitarian Assistance
ASEAN shall provide humanitarian assistance through the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA), an inter-governmental organization that facilitates cooperation between ASEAN members and the United Nations for disaster management and relief.

Visit to Myanmar
A special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned.

While no mention was made of the release of political prisoners, which remains a sore point for the Myanmar leaders, ASEAN countries did bring up the issue.

The text of a speech delivered by Malaysian leader Muhyiddin Yassin called for an immediate end to violence against civilians, the release of political prisoners, and for the ASEAN chair and secretary-general to be granted “access into Myanmar, including to all the parties concerned,” CNA reports.

The death toll in Myanmar has risen to over 550 since protests began after the military seized power on 1 February this year.

Laos made an official statement on Myanmar through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 15 March, stressing the importance of maintaining political stability in all ASEAN Member States in order to achieve a stable, peaceful, and prosperous ASEAN Community.