ASEAN leaders to discuss Myanmar crisis at summit



ASEAN leaders to discuss Myanmar crisis at summit

The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are to meet in Jakarta on Saturday when leaders of member states will discuss the political and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.

Myanmar has been embroiled in political and humanitarian crisis brought on by a February coup.

The discussion is to hold in a summit to be attended by the country’s junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed by soldiers in Myanmar during almost-daily protests since the Feb. 1 putsch.

Indonesian and Malaysian leaders called for a summit of South-East Asian countries, of which Myanmar is a member, after the junta failed to heed calls to end violence and release political detainees including deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“This ASEAN leaders’ meeting is convened simply for the interest of the Myanmar people,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said late Friday.

“We hope that the meeting can result in an agreement that is best for the people of Myanmar,” she said.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will not attend the meeting and will be represented by their foreign ministers.

ASEAN’s decision to invite Min Aung Hlaing to the summit have been criticised by civil society groups and the National Unity Government (NUG), which comprises parliamentarians that won Myanmar’s last year’s elections.

“The NUG is the legitimate government that the ASEAN leaders need to be shaking hands with, not the military junta,” Khin Ohmar, a Myanmar democracy activist, told an online discussion on Thursday.

“Ever since Myanmar was welcomed as a member, ASEAN has always stayed silent about everything that’s happened, including the 2017 Rohingya genocide,” she said. (dpa/NAN)


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