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Myanmar's army needs to cooperate for peace, Singapore says

GlobalMay 11, 2021 22:00
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SINGAPORE, May 11 (Reuters) - Myanmar's army needs to
cooperate to end the crisis since the Feb. 1 coup and Southeast
Asian countries should keep pressing it to show restraint and
start dialogue with its opponents, Singapore's foreign minister
said on Tuesday.
Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) said after meeting junta leader Min Aung Hlaing last
month they had reached consensus on five points including an end
to violence, talks between Myanmar's rivals and a visit by an
ASEAN envoy.
But the civilian death toll has continued to rise as the
army tries to suppress protests. The junta has also said it will
not agree to the envoy's visit before it restores stability and
has branded its opponents as a terrorist group.
"This will not be an easy process. The cooperation of the
Tatmadaw will be needed," said Singapore's foreign minister
Vivian Balakrishnan in a response to parliamentary questions,
using the widely used name for Myanmar's army.
"ASEAN will also have to continue to speak collectively to
urge the Myanmar military authorities to uphold the consensus –
particularly to exercise maximum restraint and begin meaningful
dialogue with all parties concerned."
Balakrishnan's comments were one of the clearest public
responses from an ASEAN country since Myanmar's army appeared to
distance itself from the consensus at the meeting in Indonesia's
capital.
A shadow National Unity Government set up by the junta's
opponents has also voiced scepticism over the ASEAN deal and has
said there can be no talks until thousands of political
prisoners are freed - including elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Balakrishnan said ASEAN should continue to call for the
release of Suu Kyi and others.
Some of ASEAN's 10 countries have urged the junta in Myanmar
- a member state - to free the political prisoners. But freeing
prisoners was not part of the consensus agreed at last month's
meeting.
The United Nations human rights body said on Tuesday that
more than 780 people had been killed by the army since the coup.

Myanmar's army needs to cooperate for peace, Singapore says
 

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