ASEAN calls summit on Myanmar

(Photo: Pexels)
(Photo: Pexels)
Southeast Asian countries will discuss the crisis in Myanmar at a summit in Jakarta on Saturday, but some are choosing to send ministers rather than heads of government.اضافة اعلان

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been trying to guide Myanmar, a member, out of the bloody turmoil triggered by the military overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government on February 1.

But the group's principles of consensus and non-interference have restricted its ability to overcome members' divergent views on how to respond to the army's killing of hundreds of civilians.

Domestic media said at least six villagers had been killed on Tuesday by the junta's security forces.

After ASEAN's secretariat announced the summit, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he would be represented by his deputy, Don Pramudwinai, who is also foreign minister.

"Some other countries will also send their foreign ministers," Prayuth, a former army chief who led a coup in Thailand in 2014, told reporters.

A Thai government official said on Saturday that Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing would go to Jakarta, although the Myanmar government has not commented.

However, in previous periods of military rule, Myanmar has usually been represented at regional meetings by a prime minister or foreign minister.

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore have all tried to put pressure on the junta.

Thailand, Myanmar's neighbor, has said it is "gravely concerned" about escalating bloodshed, but close military ties and fears of a flood of refugees mean it is unlikely to go further.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said his prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, would attend the meeting.

"We hope that with the coming discussions in Jakarta, Myanmar will agree to accept representatives from the ASEAN chair Brunei or the ASEAN.

secretariat in Jakarta to observe and help Myanmar return to normalcy," he told reporters.

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