Myanmar’s junta chief arrives at Southeast Asian leaders’ summit on crisis By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Myanmar celebrates the 76th anniversary of the founding of its national army

By Fanny Potkin and Nilufar Rizki JAKARTA (Reuters) – Myanmar General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the military takeover that sparked unrest in his country, arrived in Jakarta on Saturday for a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders seeking try to forge a path to end violence in the impoverished nation. The meeting of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta is the first coordinated international effort to alleviate the crisis in Myanmar, an impoverished country neighboring China, India and Thailand. Myanmar is part of the 10-nation ASEAN. With participants attending in person despite the pandemic, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Friday that the summit reflected “deep concern over the situation in Myanmar and ASEAN’s determination to help Myanmar to get out of this delicate situation “. “We hope that tomorrow’s (summit) will agree on steps that are good for the people of Myanmar,” he said. It is unusual for the leader of a military government in Myanmar to attend an ASEAN summit; generally, the country has been represented by a lower ranking officer or civilian. Min Aung Hlaing was seen disembarking after arriving on a special flight from Naypyitaw, the capital of Myanmar, according to images from the official video channel of the Indonesian presidential palace. Diplomats and government officials who asked not to be named said many ASEAN leaders want a commitment from Min Aung Hlaing to restrain his security forces, who, according to monitors, have killed 745 people since a civil disobedience movement emerged. mass to challenge his February 1 coup against the government. elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. “This is what Myanmar must avoid: geographic, political, social and national disintegration into ethnic warring parties,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin said on Twitter. “Myanmar alone must find peace again.” Min Aung Hlaing, on his first overseas trip since the coup, will address the summit later on Saturday together with each of the participants before the more informal discussions begin, three sources familiar with the proceedings said. The summit will be held in a “retreat” format, with leaders sitting in a circle and only one or two officials attending each, said Usana Berananda, an official with the Thai Foreign Ministry. PUSH FOR DIALOGUE ASEAN officials and diplomats have also worked on an initiative to send a humanitarian aid mission to Myanmar and appoint an envoy to encourage dialogue between the junta and the ousted legislators and the armed ethnic groups that have formed a government of Opposition National Unity (NUG). . The leaders of Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Brunei have confirmed their attendance, along with the foreign ministers of Laos, Thailand and the Philippines. ASEAN has a policy of decision-making by consensus and non-interference in the affairs of its members, which include Myanmar. While that makes it difficult to address contentious issues, the United Nations, China and the United States consider the body to be in the best position to deal directly with the board. The summit, convened by Indonesian President Joko Widodo last month, is a departure from the tightly choreographed leadership meetings that are typical for ASEAN, said Evan Laksmana, a Jakarta-based security analyst. “There is no precedent, especially given the expressed intention to discuss the problems of a member state.” A spokesman for the NUG, who will not attend the summit, told Reuters that the group had “been in contact with ASEAN leaders.” Dr. Sasa, an international envoy of the NUG, who has only one name, said ASEAN should insist that the army stop killing civilians, stop the bombing of villages in ethnic minority areas, release political prisoners and hand over power to the NUG.