BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi met with Brunei’s monarch on Wednesday to formally propose an ASEAN foreign ministers meeting to address the crisis in Myanmar.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah received the minister at Istana Nurul Iman, where they discussed a proposal backed by Indonesia and Malaysia to hold an emergency ASEAN meeting on developments in Myanmar, where thousands of protestors have marched against the military regime and called for a return to civilian government.

Brunei currently holds the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN.

“The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam in the meeting, when receiving my courtesy call earlier, also stressed the importance for ASEAN foreign ministers to immediately hold a meeting as a family,” Retno said in a online press briefing from Bandar Seri Begawan.

“Indonesia believes that the ASEAN mechanism is the most appropriate mechanism to assist Myanmar in overcoming this delicate situation.”

The minister added that international support for an ASEAN-led solution was also “very high”.

Retno said Brunei had already held a virtual meeting with Myanmar on February 11 and would continue to consult other ASEAN countries on how the bloc can best assist Myanmar.

Brunei, as ASEAN chair, called for “dialogue and a return to normalcy” in Myanmar after the military seized power and imposed a one-year state of emergency on February 1.

Meeting with Brunei’s FM

Retno also met with her counterpart YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Erywan PDPJ Hj Md Yusof, Brunei’s second minister of foreign affairs, to discuss bilateral issues such as increasing protection for Indonesian migrant workers.

They also exchanged views on regional issues, including vaccine cooperation and the development of the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework.

“We also exchanged thoughts on the development of the situation in Myanmar, and how ASEAN can play a role in helping Myanmar to get out of this situation and continue the process of democratic transition,” Retno told reporters.

“As a family, the ASEAN family, it is the duty of every ASEAN member country to respect what is stated in the ASEAN Charter… to strengthen democracy, enhance good governance and the rule of law, and promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms,” she said.

Retno will continue her diplomatic efforts onto Singapore next, where she will meet with Singapore’s foreign minister.