ASEAN LEADERS REACH CONSENSUS ON MYANMAR

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JAKARTA – Stressing an end to the violence, the leaders of Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries reached a five-point consensus on the Myanmar coup crisis on Saturday, according to a joint statement.

The statement after the regional group’s meeting in the Indonesian capital Jakarta demanded “immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and (that) all parties shall exercise utmost restraint.”

“Constructive dialogue among all parties concerned shall commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people,” said the statement.

It said a special envoy of the ASEAN chair shall “facilitate mediation of the dialogue process” in Myanmar, where at least 745 people have been killed since the Feb. 1 military coup.

The Southeast Asian bloc will also provide humanitarian assistance, it said.

The special envoy and delegation shall visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned, the statement said.

The bloc also stressed the importance of Myanmar‘s continued efforts to address the situation in Rakhine State, including commencing the repatriation of Rohingya-an oppressed Muslim minority, some 1 million of whom fled to Bangladesh-in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner in accordance with its bilateral agreements with Bangladesh.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah from Brunei, the current chair of the regional bloc, presided over the meeting in Jakarta.

Among the participants of the meeting were the bloc’s Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and Myanmar’s junta leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, as well as Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Also attending were Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin Jr., Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith, and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.