Mar 03, 2021 09:25 UTC
  • Neighbors call on Myanmar's junta to free detained leaders, end use of lethal force

Myanmar's neighbors have called on the junta in the country to release former de facto Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and end the use of lethal force against anti-coup protesters.

According to Press TV, Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held a video call with a representative of Myanmar's junta on Tuesday, offering to help end the crisis in the country.

"We expressed ASEAN's readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful, and constructive manner," the ASEAN chair, Brunei, said in a statement.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said separately that using lethal force against civilians and unarmed demonstrators was "not acceptable."

"That is disastrous not just internationally, but disastrous domestically," Lee said, describing the coup as "an enormous tragic step back."

He said imposing sanctions on the Myanmarese military would not affect it, but would rather hurt ordinary people in Myanmar.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsud called on the Myanmarese military to "open its doors" to the ASEAN to help resolve the crisis.

"Restoring democracy back on track must be pursued," he said.

"Indonesia underlines that the will, the interest, and the voices of the people of Myanmar must be respected," Retno added.

Only four members — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore — called for the release of Suu Kyi and other detainees.

Critics say, however, that ASEAN's engagement with Myanmar's junta gives the military regime legitimacy.

A committee of ousted Myanmarese lawmakers said members of ASEAN — Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam — should have no dealings with "this illegitimate military-led regime."

The committee has already declared the junta a "terrorist" group.