ASEAN leaders demand access to coup-hit Myanmar


"We have succeeded. It's beyond our expectations in getting the outcome from today's meeting", said the prime minister.

Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who led the military takeover that sparked turmoil in Myanmar, arrived in Jakarta on Saturday for a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders seeking to forge a path to end violence in the country.

"The first requested commitment is for the Myanmar military to stop the use of violence and that all parties there at the same time must refrain so that tensions can be reduced", Mr Widodo said.

Joko said the current situation in Myanmar was unacceptable.

U Aung Myo Min, a longtime human rights advocate and the director of Equality Myanmar, welcomed ASEAN leaders' efforts to stop the violence in Myanmar, but voiced disappointment that ASEAN failed to extract concrete promises from the coup leader on how he would meet their demands. The leaders also demanded that Myanmar's military government allow the arrival of humanitarian assistance.

Such a political dialogue "can only take place with the prompt and unconditional release of political detainees", the Malaysian premier said.

During the meeting, the leaders reached a five-point consensus to urge Myanmar to accept the appointment of a special envoy to engage with all the parties and to grant access to humanitarian assistance from ASEAN, which would be coordinated by the ASEAN secretary general in conjunction with the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Center). The same is true for the release of the political prisoners.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed Cambodia's adherence to non-interference principle regarding the ongoing Myanmar crisis, but supported mediation by the ASEAN chair, ASEAN secretariat and other ASEAN member states toward a constructive dialogue among relevant stakeholders.

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Saturday's meeting follows mass protests which have been met by a brutal crackdown that has left blood on the streets.

Indonesian police guard the site of Saturday's ASEAN emergency summit in Jakarta, which drew protests over the invitation of Myanmar's military general.

Paulsen said this during the "Live webinar: United Nations Association of Malaysia (UNAM) Webinar on the Myanmar Crisis" moderated by former Malaysian ambassador to Republic of Korea, Datuk M Santhananaban.

"(But) meetings that exclude the people of Myanmar but include murderer-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing. are unlikely to be helpful".

There have also been calls for the regional bloc to expel Myanmar.

"We have to be realistic here".

The crisis engulfing Myanmar has delivered a major challenge to the future of the ASEAN bloc and its consensus-driven approach. "If that's the case, we hope that he will find a way to stop it even before the ASEAN representatives go to Myanmar".