Brunei sultan favours Asean foreign ministerial meeting on Myanmar

Brunei sultan favours Asean foreign ministerial meeting on Myanmar

Demonstrators protest against the military coup in Yangon on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)
Demonstrators protest against the military coup in Yangon on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)

JAKARTA: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah supports the idea of holding an urgent meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on developments in Myanmar, where anti-coup protests continue, Indonesia's foreign minister said Wednesday.

The sultan, who is the current chairman of Asean, told Retno Marsudi during her visit to the tiny, oil-rich country that the foreign ministers of the 10-member grouping should "hold the meeting as one family," the Indonesian foreign minister told reporters.

Retno also said the sultan held a video conference with the Myanmar side last Thursday, though she did not reveal what was discussed.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo proposed the special Asean meeting during his talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin when the latter visited Jakarta early this month in the wake of the Feb 1 military coup in Myanmar.

The two leaders then assigned their foreign ministers to communicate the idea to other Asean members, which besides Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

"Many countries have expressed their concerns, including Indonesia, (over the situation in Myanmar), but expressing concerns is one thing," Retno said.

"What becomes a question is what Indonesia and Asean, in particular, can do to assist Myanmar in getting out of this delicate situation," she added.

Retno suggested the international community welcomes a role for Asean in addressing the current situation, judging from her phone conversations with counterparts from such countries as Australia, Britain, India, Japan and the United States.

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