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Asian ministers meet over rising tension, political crisis in Myanmar

By News Desk, with agency reports

As part of measures aimed at dousing political tension in Myanmar, ministers from Southeast Asian nations have concluded plans to meet and proffer lasting solution to the internal hostility between protesters and junta leaders that has turned the country into hotbed of violence.

As stated, issues bordering on the military takeover, citizens protection and process leading to restoration of civil rule would take centre stage during the meeting that would have in attendance foreign ministers of neighbouring countries.

It was also gathered that the proposed meeting that would have in attendance the junta leaders was in a bid to find a peaceful way out of the crisis after careful consideration that the political instability in Myanmar, if left to fester, could affect peace being enjoyed in neighboring countries.

Confirming the development, Singapore Foreign Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, said that his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would be frank in their demands during the meeting.

According to him, when we meet by video call on Tuesday, we will tell a representative of Myanmar’s junta that the continent was appalled by the festering violence across the country.

Speaking during a television interview late yesterday, Balakrishnan said that the ASEAN would encourage dialogue between Suu Kyi and the generals.

“They need to talk, and we need to help bring them together,” he said.

He explained that the ASEAN groups include Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the talks, to be held in a video call, was coming two days after the bloodiest day of unrest since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on Feb. 1, unleashing anger and mass street protests across the country.

Hundreds of protesters, many wearing hard hats and clutching makeshift shields, had gathered behind barricades in different parts of the main city of Yangon to chant slogans against military rule.

“If we’re oppressed, there will be an explosion. If we’re hit, we’ll hit back,” demonstrators chanted before police moved in firing stun grenades to scatter crowds in four different parts of the city.

There were no reports of injuries in Yangon but four people were wounded in the northwestern town of Kale, where police fired live ammunition to disperse a crowd after protesters threw things at advancing police, a witnesses said.

“They were acting like they were in a war zone,” a teacher at the protest said of the police. “I feel very angry and sad at the same time.”

At least 21 protesters have been killed since the turmoil began. The army has said one policemen was killed.

The coup halted Myanmar’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, and has drawn condemnation and sanctions from the United States and other Western countries, and growing concern among its neighbours.

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