Southeast Asian leaders come to agreement on Myanmar | TheHill – The Hill

Southeast Asian leaders announced Saturday that they have come to an agreement with Myanmar’s military junta to end the violence in the country.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said in a statement that member countries have reached a consensus on five different points, including ending violence, forming a dialogue among all parties, appointing a special ASEAN envoy to oversee the talks, accepting aid and a visit by the envoy to Myanmar.

“In the pursuit to strengthen our regional solidarity and resilience, we reiterated that the political stability in ASEAN Member States is essential to achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous ASEAN Community. We underscored the need to maintain our unity, Centrality, and relevance in the region and to collectively address common challenges,” the member nations said.

“We recognised that the strength of the ASEAN Community lies in putting people at its centre and fulfilling their desire to live in a region of lasting peace, security and stability, sustained economic growth, shared prosperity, and social progress. In this regard, we reaffirmed our commitment to the purposes and principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, including adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government, respect for fundamental freedoms, and the promotion and protection of human rights.” 

The statement did not include any reference to releasing political prisoners who have been detained and included few specifics beyond the agreements on broad platforms.

“The release of political prisoners is a necessary requirement for the cessation of violence,” Charles Santiago, head of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights group, said after the talks, according to Reuters.

“ASEAN must now act swiftly and set a clear timeline for Min Aung Hlaing to deliver on ending the violence, or stand ready to hold him accountable.”

The ASEAN meeting was one of the first formal talks to take place to try to quell the violence in Myanmar. The junta took over power in a coup on Feb. 1 and ousted the civilian-led government. 

The military has since arrested a slew of protesters and killed 745 people, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has tracked the coup.