Indonesia rallies ASEAN members for solutions to situation in Myanmar

Indonesia rallies ASEAN members for solutions to situation in Myanmar

FILE PHOTO: Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi delivers her speech during a press briefing
FILE PHOTO: Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi delivers her speech during a press briefing with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan 10, 2020. (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/File Photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesia is consulting members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a possible meeting of the region’s foreign ministers to discuss the military coup in Myanmar. 

In the first stop of her regional tour, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in Brunei, the current chair of ASEAN, on Wednesday (Feb 17). 

“The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam in the meeting to receive my courtesy visit earlier also stressed the importance of the ASEAN foreign ministers immediately conducting a meeting as a family,” she said in an online press conference from Brunei.

Her tour came after Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin agreed to instruct their respective foreign ministers to talk to Brunei on setting up a special Myanmar meeting. 

On Feb 1, Myanmar military seized power in a coup and declared a one-year state of emergency. 

Several Myanmar political figures, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy, have been detained amid escalating tensions between the country's civilian government and the military.

In the press conference, Mdm Marsudi said Indonesia has expressed its concerns on the situation in Myanmar since the beginning of the coup. 

But the question remained as to what Indonesia and ASEAN members can do to help Myanmar, she added.

"As a family, an ASEAN family, it is the responsibility of all ASEAN members to respect what is stated in the ASEAN Charter.

“Article 1(7) of the ASEAN Charter reads, 'To strengthen democracy, enhance good governance and the rule of law, and to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms,'” the foreign minister said.

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Mdm Marsudi said Indonesia will hold on to principles of non-interference, and will prioritise constructive engagement and the safety and welfare of the people of Myanmar. 

The country will also contribute to finding the best solutions for the people of Myanmar, she added.

Indonesia believes the ASEAN mechanism is the most appropriate way to assist Myanmar in overcoming the current situation, the foreign minister said, adding that she will continue to communicate with other ASEAN foreign ministers.

The Indonesian foreign minister is slated to meet her Singaporean counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday.

Source: CNA/ks

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