Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Indonesian President Joko Widodo walk during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia. Reuters
The leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia on Friday said they were seeking a special meeting of Southeast Asian nations to discuss the situation in Myanmar, where an elected government was overthrown in a coup this week.
Throwing a wedge in Myanmar’s transition to democracy, the military took power on Monday, alleging irregularities in a November election won in a landslide by the party of Aung San Suu Kyi.
After meeting visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said their foreign ministers had been asked to talk to Brunei, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to try to set up the special Myanmar meeting.
Muhyiddin referred to the coup as being “one step backward in the process of democracy in that country.”
Such meetings are rare and arranging one could be a challenge, however, given ASEAN’s policy of non-interference in its members’ domestic issues and their contrasting responses to the army takeover.
ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, earlier this week said it had been watching developments there closely.
Jokowi, as Indonesia’s president is known, and Muhyiddin also reiterated their commitment to eradicating “discrimination” against palm oil.
Jokowi said it was “optimal” for the two countries, which are the world’s top producers of palm oil, to work together to fight palm oil discrimination, while Muhyiddin said the anti-palm oil campaign in Europe misrepresented the industry.
Reuters reported last month that Indonesia and Malaysia were looking to hire an advocacy firm to counter the criticism.
Jokowi and Muhyiddin said they would discuss further an agreement for official and business travel between their countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jokowi said the issue of Rohingya Muslims had been discussed. Indonesia has been historically sympathetic to the plight of the Rohingya, hundreds of whom have arrived there and in Malaysia in recent years after fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
Both leaders also stressed the importance of international law in the South China Sea and Muhyiddin called for self-restraint and to avoid militarization.
The talks will come two days after the bloodiest day of unrest since the military removed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government a month ago, unleashing anger and mass street protests across Myanmar.
Retno Marsudi made the remark in a news briefing after talks with visiting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Indonesia is among several Southeast Asian countries leading a push for high-level talks on Myanmar, where nearly 600 people have been killed in a crackdown on demonstrators opposing
The opposition said it would accept inviting a truly neutral alternative Myanmar representative, as decided over the weekend by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The blast took place at the mosque where a large number of people had gathered for prayer, police official Sikandar Khan said. "A portion of the building had collapsed and several people are believed to be under it," Khan added.
The emergencies ministry said the explosion on Sunday damaged a four-storey building in the city of Nukus, the administrative centre of the autonomous Karakalpakstan region, which last summer saw deadly protests over self-determination.
A phone call was held between His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistani Prime Minister, during which they reviewed UAE-Pakistan relations and agreed to schedule another visit as soon as possible.