Malaysia PM backs Indonesia's call for Asean summit on Myanmar

Malaysia PM backs Indonesia's call for Asean summit on Myanmar

Protesters run during a crackdown on anti-coup protests at Hlaing Township in Yangon on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)
Protesters run during a crackdown on anti-coup protests at Hlaing Township in Yangon on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday expressed support for Indonesian President Joko Widodo's call to hold an emergency Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit to address the situation in Myanmar.

Muhyiddin in a statement said the persistent use of lethal violence against unarmed civilians was unacceptable, and urged Myanmar's military leadership "to change its course and choose a path towards peaceful solutions".

"There is no question about it -- the use of live ammunition against peaceful protests is unacceptable. This deplorable situation must stop immediately," Muhyiddin said, while seeking the "prompt and unconditional release" Aung San Suu Kyi and other ousted political leaders detained since the Feb 1 military coup.

"We in Malaysia, and the larger Asean community, cannot afford to see our brotherly nation of Myanmar become so destabilised at the hands of a selected few, who seek to promote their own vested interests," he said.

Since the coup, Indonesia has led efforts within Asean to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.

The Indonesian president on Friday called for democracy to be restored and violence to be halted in Myanmar and for Southeast Asian leaders to hold a high-level meeting to discuss the situation there.

"I will immediately call the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam as head of Asean to as soon as possible hold a high-level Asean meeting to discuss the crisis in Myanmar," he said in a virtual address. Brunei is currently chair of the 10-member Asean.

Asean foreign ministers held an informal meeting earlier this month to discuss Myanmar. At the time, Asean expressed concern about the situation.

The Thai Foreign Ministry is urging Myanmar's military rulers to hold talks with political dissidents to end the conflict as Thailand prepares for a possible influx of refugees escaping violence there.

Meanwhile, Myanmar's state media said on Friday that coup leader and military chief Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing attended an Asean meeting by videoconference the previous day, in his first appearance in an international setting since he swept to power in the coup.

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