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Southeast Asian leaders reach consensus on Myanmar

Southeast Asian leaders reached a Five-Point Consensus on Saturday on the Myanmar crisis at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting. Photo courtesy of ASEAN
Southeast Asian leaders reached a Five-Point Consensus on Saturday on the Myanmar crisis at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting. Photo courtesy of ASEAN

April 24 (UPI) -- Southeast Asian leaders said Saturday that they have reached an agreement to end violence in Myanmar after meeting with the military junta chief.

Myanmar Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who seized power in the Feb. 1 coup, attended the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia's capital Jakarta on Saturday. ASEAN leaders pressured Hlaing to end violence, Anadolu Agency reported.

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Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah presided as chairman over the meeting, also attended by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the prime ministers of Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and foreign ministers of Thailand, the Philippines and Laos.

Bolkiah said in a statement Saturday the member countries have reached a Five-Point Consensus on the Myanmar crisis.

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The first point of consensus was there should be "an immediate cessation of violence," and "utmost restraint," among all parties. The second was that constructive dialogue should commence. Third, the ASEAN chair special envoy should facilitate the dialogue and mediation. Fourth, ASEAN should provide humanitarian assistance through its coordinating center for such relief. And fifth, the special envoy and delegation should visit Myanmar to meet with all concerned parties.

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"We, as an ASEAN family, had a close discussion on the recent developments in Myanmar and expressed our deep concern on the situation in the country, including reports of fatalities and escalation of violence," Bolkiah said. "We acknowledged ASEAN's positive and constructive role in facilitating a peaceful solution in the interest of the people of Myanmar and their livelihoods.

"We also heard calls for the release of political prisoners including foreigners," he added.

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The military has arrested over 3,300 protestors as political prisoners and killed 745 people since the start of the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners' latest count.

"The situation in Myanmar is something that is unacceptable and must not continue," Joko said in a video statement after the meeting, The New York Times reported. "Violence must be stopped, and democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must be restored."

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