Indonesian President calls for ASEAN meeting to discuss Myanmar crisis

·2-min read
Indonesian President Joko Widodo
Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Singapore, March 19 (ANI): Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday called for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders to discuss the crisis in Myanmar.

In a speech broadcast from the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, the President said he would soon hold talks with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as chair of the ASEAN to discuss the possibility of holding a high-level meeting on the crisis, reported The Strait Times.

He urged for democracy, peace, and stability to be restored and violence to be stopped immediately.

Indonesia urged for "dialogue and reconciliation to be carried out immediately to restore democracy, to restore peace and to restore stability in Myanmar".

Jokowi also expressed his condolences to the victims and their families following the military crackdown against protesters following the Feb 1 coup.

"On behalf of myself and all Indonesian people, I would like to express my deepest condolences and sympathy to the victims and families of victims as a result of the use of violence in Myanmar," he said.

"Indonesia urges that the use of violence in Myanmar be stopped immediately so that there are no more victims," he added. "The safety and welfare of the people must be the top priority."

Earlier, ASEAN Foreign Ministers had held an informal online meeting on March 2 to urge the Myanmar military to desist from violence and respect the will of the Myanmar people.

The meeting came after the shuttle diplomacy of Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who has said that ASEAN was ready to facilitate dialogue when required.

Wunna Maung Lwin, the top envoy appointed by Myanmar's military regime after the coup, was present at the meeting, reported The Strait Times.

Unlike the United States and other Western countries, ASEAN has refrained from condemning the coup in its member state Myanmar owing to a consensus as a key principle in its operations.

On February 1, Myanmar's military overthrew the government and declared a year-long state of emergency hours before the newly-elected parliament was due to convene. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, along with other top officials accused of election fraud, have been placed under house arrest. The coup triggered mass protests across the country.

Meanwhile, the total number killed in weeks of unrest has risen to at least 224, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group said, noting another death in the commercial hub of Yangon and two in the cities of Monywa and Bago on Thursday, it added. (ANI)