Violence, in particular live rounds, should not be used on unarmed civilians in Myanmar: Balakrishnan

Violence, in particular live rounds, should not be used on unarmed civilians in Myanmar: Balakrishnan

Yangon, Myanmar protest Feb 17 (2)
Protesters are seen in downtown Sule in Yangon, Myanmar on Feb 17, 2021. (Photo: Naung Kham)

SINGAPORE: Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on Thursday (Feb 18) that there should be no violence against unarmed civilians in Myanmar, adding that live rounds should not be fired on them under any circumstances.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement that Dr Balakrishnan met with Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who was in Singapore for a two-day visit, and both ministers expressed “grave concern” over the ongoing developments in Myanmar.

It added that Dr Balakrishnan “urged all parties involved to exercise utmost restraint and take urgent steps to de-escalate the situation”.

“He stressed that there should be no violence against unarmed civilians,” said MFA.

“In particular, live rounds should not be fired on unarmed civilians under any circumstances.”

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Earlier this month, the military seized power in Myanmar and detained several democratically elected leaders including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint of the National League for Democracy.

The coup has led to massive demonstrations around the country, and security forces opened fire on Wednesday in Myanmar’s second largest city of Mandalay, as they tried to break up a protest that stopped trains running as part of a civil disobedience movement.

It was not clear whether police and soldiers used rubber bullets or live rounds.

READ: Myanmar protesters stage biggest rallies since troop deployments

On Thursday, both Dr Balakrishnan and Mdm Marsudi expressed hope that all parties involved would “maintain dialogue and work towards a peaceful resolution and national reconciliation in Myanmar, including a return to its path of democratic transition”, said MFA.

Vivian Balakrishnan and Retno Marsudi
Meeting between Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, Feb 18, 2021. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore)

The ministers also discussed possible next steps for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to address the situation in Myanmar, “including how it could foster inclusive dialogue with all key stakeholders”, said the ministry.

“They also expressed strong support for a proposed Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Myanmar to be convened as soon as possible, to facilitate a constructive exchange of views and identify a possible way forward.”

Source: CNA/ta(rw)

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