HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh has urged all ASEAN members to find a peaceful way to resolve the ongoing violence and political crisis in Myanmar.
Speaking at the Informal Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers held online yesterday, the Deputy PM said: “The increasing violence and tension causing the loss of people’s lives in recent days in Myanmar has affected the peace and stability not only of Myanmar but that of the whole region.”
He called on all ASEAN member nations to “refrain from causing any types of violence, ensure safety for the people, and facilitate peaceful dialogues that will help the situation to return to normal.”
He also asked the member nations to closely coordinate, promote the bloc’s role and effectively use existing cooperation tools and mechanisms – including coordination with global organisations such as the United Nations – to help Myanmar stabilise the situation for the benefit of the Burmese people and the country, as well as for peace and stability of the region, and solidarity and credibility of ASEAN.
The discussions come as protesters, many wearing hard hats, began marching in the biggest city Yangon for what they said would be another big demonstration. Several shopping malls have closed because of the unrest.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters in Yangon on Monday and later combed side streets, firing rubber bullets, witnesses said.
At least 21 protesters have been killed since the turmoil began. The army said one policeman was killed.
The coup on February 1 halted Myanmar’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, and has drawn condemnation and sanctions from the United States and other Western countries, and growing concern among its neighbours.
The military justified the coup saying its complaints of fraud in a November election won by Suu Kyi’s party were ignored. The election commission said the vote was fair.
Junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, in remarks read on state television by a newscaster, said protest leaders and “instigators” would be punished and threatened action against civil servants refusing to work.
Min Aung Hlaing has pledged to hold new elections and hand power to the winner but has given no time frame.
The ministers meeting also discussed the progress of implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the plan to build the ASEAN Community Vision after 2025, the implementation of COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives, as well as ASEAN external relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest.
Speaking on the issue of COVID-19 prevention and control, Deputy PM Minh said as an active and responsible member of the ASEAN community, Việt Nam committed to cooperate with other countries in eradicating the pandemic.
Minh also said he would continue to support the 2021 ASEAN Chair in building a solid ASEAN community building and controlling the pandemic. He also emphasised the utmost importance of partnerships and cooperation in this process. — VNS