WASHINGTON — Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, expressed his grave concern over Myanmar’s military rule, and he requested the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take necessary steps to restore democracy in the country.
Ned Price, the spokesperson of the State Department, said that they have urged to release all those who were taken into detention without any justification.
“(Blinken) expressed grave concerns about the military coup in Burma [Myanmar] and called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take joint action to urge the military to end the violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore Burma’s path to democracy,” said Ned Price, State Department Spokesperson.
The coup in Myanmar began on Feb. 1, 2021, when the Tatmadaw—Myanmar military— deposed the democratically elected government. They declared the results of the Nov. 2020 general elections to be invalid.
The coup that occurred the day before the Parliament of Myanmar was due to swear in the members at the 2020 election. President WIn Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained along with other ministers.
“@SecBlinken spoke with ASEAN foreign ministers and the ASEAN Secretary-General to convey U.S. commitment to fighting Covid-19, promoting sustainable recovery, strengthening people-to-people ties, and action on Burma.” tweeted Price.
Blinken made these remarks during the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers and the group’s Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi during the US-the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers’ meeting, Price said.
“The Secretary and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers discussed pressing regional and international challenges, including combating the Covid-19 pandemic, acting boldly against the climate crisis, strengthening human capital development, and the urgency of action on Burma,” Price said.
Blinken also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations centrality and support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Outlook on the Indo-Pacific as part of the U.S. vision for a free and open region, said Price.
The U.S. State Secretary and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers discussed pressing regional and international challenges, including combating the Covid-19 pandemic, acting boldly against the climate crisis, strengthening human capital development, and the urgency of action on Myanmar.
Aside from this, Secretary Blinken stressed the U.S. commitment to leading the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This includes providing more than 500 million safe and effective vaccine doses to Gavi for distribution by COVAX to 92 low- and middle-income countries around the world and to the African Union in addition to a $2 billion contribution to Gavi, the global vaccine initiative, in support of COVAX, making the United States the single largest contributor to the international response to Covid-19.”
Blinken noted that, to date, the United States has donated more than 23 million vaccine doses and nearly $160 million in assistance to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states to combat Covid-19, Price said.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations of Brunei’s second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof as a special convoy to Myanmar, said U.N. spokesperson Stephan Dujarric in a statement.
Since Myanmar’s military, tens of thousands of Myanmar nationals have fled the country to escape the violent crackdown. Around 16,000 Myanmar nationals have crossed into India in the four border states — Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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