The chair of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations says diplomacy is the only way to resolve the bloody two-and-a-half year old crisis in Myanmar.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi made the remarks Wednesday in Jakarta at the start of a second day of talks of ASEAN foreign ministers.
Myanmar's ruling military junta agreed to a five-point "consensus" crafted by ASEAN just months after overthrowing the democratically-elected government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, 2021. The plan includes an immediate end to the violence, peace talks between the junta and its opponents, and the delivery of humanitarian aid.
But Myanmar's junta has failed to follow through on the ASEAN plan, carrying out a bloody crackdown on anti-coup demonstrations and deadly airstrikes on armed resistance forces that are assisted by several rural ethnic rebel groups who have been fighting for decades for greater autonomy.
The United Nations says more than 1 million people have been displaced by the turmoil in Myanmar.
The meeting comes one month after Thai officials held one-on-one talks with leaders of Myanmar's junta, who have been banned from attending official high-level ASEAN meetings. Marsudi told her fellow ministers that "any other efforts must support the implementation of the five-point consensus."
Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told his ASEAN counterparts that he met with Aung San Suu Kyi last week, who has been detained since the coup. Don said the 78-year-old Nobel peace laureate is in good health, but did not provide any further details.
In a separate statement, the Thai foreign ministry said Don and Suu Kyi met privately for one hour.
Suu Kyi, who led the civilian government as state councilor, is serving a combined 33 years in prison after her conviction in a series of trials on several criminal charges brought against her by the military.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won the November 2020 general elections in a landslide over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. The junta has claimed widespread election fraud as its reason for toppling the civilian government and invalidating the results. The civilian electoral commission denied the allegations before it was disbanded.
Some information for this report came from Reuters, Agence France-Presse.