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South Asian Bloc Urges Myanmar Junta To Release Suu Kyi

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Jakarta: Two members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday called on the military junta of Myanmar to free all political prisoners and stop the violent crackdown on anti-coup protesters.

A special meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers led by Brunei Darussalam was held virtually to address the current political situation in Myanmar following the coup on February 1 and to find an amicable solution to the ensuing crisis.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at a news conference in the capital Jakarta that she and her Malaysian counterpart in the meeting called on the junta to release the prisoners and create a conducive environment for dialogue between the stakeholders.

“Indonesia believes that ASEAN is ready to facilitate such a dialogue if asked,” she said.

During the meeting, Marsudi also expressed concern about the escalation of violence that killed civilians.

“It is worrying that civilian arrests are still taking place,” she said, urging the security forces in the coup-hit country to exercise restraint and refrain from using violence.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein called for the prompt and unconditional release of detained political leaders in Myanmar, including ousted State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and other prisoners and their associates, and encouraged dialogue between the parties concerned.

“We urge all relevant parties to continue exercising restraint from the use of violence against unarmed civilians. We are deeply concerned over the loss of innocent lives and injuries during the ongoing situation in Myanmar,” said Hishammuddin in a separate statement released in his country’s capital Putrajaya.

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