ASEAN LEADERS TO PRESS MYANMAR JUNTA TO END VIOLENCE
Southeast Asian leaders will try to persuade Myanmar's junta to end violence and let in aid at a summit on Saturday, April 24, 2021, diplomats said, in the first concerted international effort to ease the crisis in the country, Tom Allard reported for Reuters.
Leaders will meet behind closed doors at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the hope of encouraging candid discussions, two diplomatic sources told Reuters.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar's junta chief who ousted the civilian government on Feb. 1, is likely to attend, officials and diplomats in the host nation have said. The Southeast Asian country has been in crisis since the coup, with almost daily protests and a crackdown by the junta in which more than 700 people have been killed.
Initiatives being considered by ASEAN include a pause in violence to allow medical and food supplies into Myanmar, and the appointment of a special envoy to encourage dialogue between the military regime and its opponents in the rival National Unity Government (NUG), the sources said.
No nation outside of ASEAN will be present at the talks, although some of the participating nations and the UN special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, will hold meetings at the sidelines of the event, they added. Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he met Schraner Burgener on Friday and discussed how the international community can play "a constructive role in facilitating normalcy, peace and stability in Myanmar."