US Secretary of State asks ASEAN to take quick action on Myanmar

DM Monitoring

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed “deep concerns” about the military coup in Myanmar and called on Southeast Asian nations to take action to end violence and restore democracy in the country.
Blinken made the appeal during a meeting with foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Wednesday.
ASEAN has been leading the main diplomatic effort on Myanmar since the country’s military seized power in a coup on February 1.
At least 902 people have been killed in the ensuing crackdown, according to a monitoring group, while tens of thousands of people have been displaced amid fighting between the security forces and newly formed armed groups across Myanmar.
During Wednesday’s video conference with ASEAN diplomats, Blinken urged the 10-country bloc, of which Myanmar is a member, to take “immediate action” on a five-point consensus that was agreed in April, according to a statement by the US Department of State. The ASEAN plan calls for an end to the violence in Myanmar, the start of a dialogue between all parties, greater humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas as well as the appointment of a special envoy.
The plan, which coup leader Ming Aung Hlaing agreed to, has also received the backing of Russia, a key supplier of arms and training to Myanmar’s military. The military, however, have since shown no intention of following through on the plan.