| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Regional envoys urged Myanmar junta to free prisoners, follow agreement

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) asked Myanmar’s junta to free all political prisoners and discussed executing a regional “consensus” to end turmoil since the Feb. 1 coup, the regional bloc said.

Myanmar’s junta has revealed little sign of heeding April’s five-point deal among the ten ASEAN countries, including Myanmar, which calls for an end to violence, political talks and the naming of a regional special envoy.

The ASEAN envoys met junta leader Min Aung Hlaing in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, on Friday.

The ASEAN statement dated June 5 said the aim of the visit was to discuss how Myanmar would reach “a peaceful solution in the interests of its people” by executing the five points.

It said they had also “appealed for the release of all political prisoners, including women and children and foreigners” – which was not on the consensus but is supported by many ASEAN members.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar said the meeting covered “execution of the recommendation of initial survey of ASEAN” and “terror acts” by junta opponents and the army’s plan to hold elections.

The junta has flopped to impose control since seizing power from elected leader Aug San Suu Kyi, who is among more than 4,500 people detained since the coup. At least 849 have been killed, a rights group says. The army disputes that figure.

Opponents of the junta have voiced frustration at the lack of tough action by ASEAN.

Myanmar’s crisis is also expected to be a topic at a special ASEAN-Chinese foreign ministers meeting in Chongqing this week. The junta’s foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, will also attend.

  • Reuters