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World ASEAN set for talks with Myanmar military as crisis escalates

11:01  02 march  2021
11:01  02 march  2021 Source:   aljazeera.com

At least 18 protesters were killed amid intensifying pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar

  At least 18 protesters were killed amid intensifying pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar The protesters were shot and killed by the military government, according to the UN.For nearly a month, a growing coalition of protesters has demanded the end of military rule in Myanmar, following a coup that led to the arrest of the nation’s civilian leaders on February 1. Demonstrations have taken place continuously across the country, taking the form of student protests, the halting of public transportation, and work stoppages that threaten to derail Myanmar’s economy.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN ) holds a meeting of foreign ministers on Tuesday to discuss the crisis after Myanmar 's Feb. 1 coup, which will include representation from the military government. Longer term, an Indonesian plan for ASEAN to oversee a new election to ensure it is fair and inclusive could allow the junta to step down and put Myanmar back on the course to democracy, its proponents say. But ousted parliamentarians and protesters have rejected a new election - demanding respect for a ballot last year that was swept by Aung San Suu Kyi's party.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ’ ( ASEAN ) foreign ministers will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss Myanmar , Singapore’s foreign minister said, calling for the immediate release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “A special ASEAN foreign ministers meeting will be convened via video conference tomorrow and where we will listen to the representative of the Myanmar military authorities,” Vivian Balakrishnan said in parliament on Monday. He also called on the Myanmar military authorities to desist from the use of lethal force, “and to take immediate steps to de- escalate the

ASEAN foreign ministers are preparing to hold virtual talks with a representative of Myanmar’s military on Tuesday, as anti-coup protesters returned to the streets in the main city of Yangon defying fresh threats from Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

map: Myanmar soldiers from the 77th light infantry division walk along a street during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 28, 2021 [Stringer/Reuters] © Myanmar soldiers from the 77th light infantry division walk along a street during a protest against ... Myanmar soldiers from the 77th light infantry division walk along a street during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 28, 2021 [Stringer/Reuters]

Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, in a televised interview late on Monday, said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will tell the military it is appalled by the violence in Myanmar and call for the release of the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and for the two sides to talk.

Myanmar police break up protests as ASEAN diplomatic effort stalls

  Myanmar police break up protests as ASEAN diplomatic effort stalls Myanmar police break up protests as ASEAN diplomatic effort stallsForeign Ministers from Southeast Asian neighbours urged restraint but failed to unite behind a call for the military to release ousted government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and restore democracy.

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ' ( ASEAN ) foreign ministers will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss Myanmar , Singapore's foreign minister said, calling for the immediate release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. "A special ASEAN foreign ministers meeting will be convened via video conference tomorrow and where we will listen to the representative of the Myanmar military authorities," Vivian Balakrishnan said in parliament on Monday. He also called on the Myanmar military authorities to desist from the use of lethal force, "and to take immediate steps to

By Simon Lewis YANGON (Reuters) - Malaysia said on Monday the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was a regional concern and called for the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN ) to coordinate humanitarian aid and investigate alleged atrocities committed against them.

“Instability in any corner of Southeast Asia threatens and affects the rest of us,” he said, adding that the coup will cause “grievous damage to Myanmar’s society and economy”.

The military’s February 1 power grab has plunged Myanmar into chaos, drawing hundreds of thousands of people on to the streets of cities and towns across the country as doctors, teachers and other civil servants stop work in protest against the coup.

In the bloodiest crackdown yet, security forces opened fire on protesters on Sunday, killing at least 18 and wounding dozens more.

The killings triggered widespread international condemnation, including from the United Nations and a group of ASEAN legislators who said they were “alarmed at the scale of arbitrary arrests and surge in violence in Myanmar”.

Myanmar students, doctors plan more protests against military rule

  Myanmar students, doctors plan more protests against military rule Myanmar students, doctors plan more protests against military ruleThe army seized power this month after alleging fraud in a Nov. 8 election swept by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), detaining her and much of the party leadership.

“ Myanmar is like a battlefield,” the Buddhist-majority country’s first Catholic cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, said on Twitter. He shared a photograph of a nun in Kachin state, northern Myanmar , who knelt before a line of police officers, pleading for restraint. Residents in Yangon rushed to build makeshift road blocks, ripping up pavement slabs and People in Yangon set up a barricade during a protest against the military coup on Saturday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images. Several countries condemned the use of force against protesters, including Britain which called the violence abhorrent.

Myanmar 's military has seized power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. Troops are patrolling the streets and a night-time curfew is in force, with a one-year state of emergency declared. US President Joe Biden raised the threat of new sanctions, with the UN and UK also The army alleges the recent landslide election win by Ms Suu Kyi's party was marred by fraud. She urged supporters to "protest against the coup". In a letter written in preparation for her impending detention, she said the military 's actions would put the country back under a dictatorship.

ASEAN, which comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, also renewed its efforts to open a channel between Myanmar’s military and civilian leaders.

Philippine foreign minister, Teodoro Locsin, indicated on Twitter that ASEAN would be firm with Myanmar and said the regional group’s policy of non-interference in a member’s internal affairs “is not a blanket approval or tacit consent for wrong to be done there”.

He also called Aung San Suu Kyi “Burmese democracy’s only hope”.

‘Illegitimate military-led regime’

But ASEAN’s effort to engage with Myanmar’s military was met with a fierce rebuke from groups in the anti-coup movement.

Sa Sa, a representative of a committee of deposed legislators, said ASEAN should have no dealings with “this illegitimate military-led regime”, while the alumni of ASEAN youth programmes in Myanmar said the bloc should be talking to the international representatives of Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration, not to the military government.

The world must act now to stop the brutality of Myanmar’s junta

  The world must act now to stop the brutality of Myanmar’s junta The army’s power grab is not only destroying democracy, it may also lead to another onslaught against the Rohingya.The shocking scenes brought back painful memories of the military-led repression of protests in Myanmar in 1988 and 2007, as well as military-led violence against ethnic groups like the Rohingya. The bloody scenes must be a wakeup call for the world to act now to support the protesters and ensure a return to a genuinely inclusive democracy. If the Myanmar army’s reign of terror becomes normalised, there is every chance violence will escalate.

See more of Myanmar and Asean Military Updates on Facebook. Military delegation headed by the Chief of the General Staff of The Tatmadaw, General Mya Tun U, visited the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division of the Western Military District in the Moscow Region. In the military camp, the guests got acquainted with educational infrastructure facilities and samples of military equipment in service.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ' ( ASEAN ) foreign ministers will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss Myanmar , Singapore's foreign minister said in parliament on Monday. "A special ASEAN foreign minister's meeting will be convened via video conference tomorrow and where we will listen to the representative of the Myanmar military authorities," said Vivian Balakrishnan. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Christian Schmollinger).

“ASEAN must understand that the coup or the re-election promised by the military junta is utterly unacceptable to the people of Myanmar,” it said it a letter to ASEAN.

Aaron Connelly, a research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said ASEAN member states were in a difficult position.

“For Myanmar’s neighbours, there will always be issues of regional security that require consultations with those in power in Naypyidaw,” he wrote in a blog post.

“It is in ASEAN’s interests to keep open lines of communication with the Tatmadaw (the army) so long as it holds power, if for no other reason than to use these channels to urge the army to return to its barracks post-haste – lest the current political instability lead to violence which sparks another humanitarian disaster, like that which saw 700,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar in 2017.

“In engaging the junta, however, ASEAN risks legitimising the very coup that gives rise to these risks.”

In Yangon, dozens of people returned to the streets on Tuesday as funerals continued for those killed in the violence. Protesters set up makeshift barricades and taped images of Commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing to the ground.

Sri Lanka invites Myanmar’s ‘incumbent FM’, denies endorsing coup

  Sri Lanka invites Myanmar’s ‘incumbent FM’, denies endorsing coup Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry says Myanmar’s ‘incumbent foreign minister’, a military officer, invited for BIMSTEC event.“ProtestSriLanka” began trending among coup opponents on Twitter in Myanmar on Wednesday after it emerged – through a letter leaked online – that Colombo had invited military foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) meeting scheduled at the end of March.

Police moved quickly to disperse the crowds, firing stun grenades and tear gas, sending protesters fleeing.

They regrouped later, however, and continued chanting slogans demanding an end to military rule.

In remarks read on state television by a newscaster, the senior general again warned on Monday that protest leaders and “instigators” would be punished and threatened action against civil servants who were refusing to work.

Journalists arrested

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says more than 1,200 people have been arrested since the coup and the Irrawaddy newspaper said that included at least 25 journalists, 10 of whom are still in detention.

The latest arrests include a journalist for the Democratic Voice of Burma, who live-streamed security forces outside his apartment on Monday in the coastal town of Myeik, where he had been filming protests. DVB confirmed the arrest, saying it had no knowledge of where Kaung Myat Naing had been taken or which military authority took him.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights said at least 59 elected representatives were also behind bars in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, the military authorities filed additional criminal charges on Monday against Aung San Suu Kyi, who has not been seen in public since her detention on the day of the coup.

She appeared at a court hearing via videoconferencing on Monday and looked in good health, one of her lawyers said. Her legal team was not granted access to her ahead of the hearing.

The United States warned Myanmar’s military rulers on Monday that it would take more action if security forces kill unarmed people and attack journalists and activists, actions that Department of State spokesman Ned Price called “abhorrent violence”.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration of President Joe Biden was preparing further costs on those responsible for the coup.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday she hoped to use Washington’s presidency of the UN Security Council in March to push for more “intense discussions” on Myanmar.

Three police officers from coup-hit Myanmar seek refuge in India .
Police constables cross over to India’s Mizoram to avoid carrying out Myanmar military’s orders, says Indian official.The three men came across the border near the town of North Vanlaiphai on Wednesday afternoon and the local authorities were assessing their health and making arrangements for them, the police superintendent in Mizoram’s Serchhip district said.

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