Mon, 11 Dec 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Southeast Asian nations must decide whether a five-point plan to end the violence in Myanmar is "still relevant," according to Malaysia's Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, following reports that at least 11 children were killed in a military airstrike on a school.

Myanmar was thrown into turmoil when the military detained and seized power from elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. It has repressed any opposition, branding civilian and ethnic armed groups opposing its rule as "terrorists" and executing four political prisoners in July.

In April 2021, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) brokered a five-point framework with army chief Min Aung Hlaing to end the violence, but the generals ignored it.

Saifuddin stated that ASEAN leaders, who will meet in less than two months, needed to "seriously review" whether the plan was "still relevant" or if "it should be replaced with something better."

Myanmar is one of ASEAN's ten members, and the international community has looked to the organization to lead diplomatic efforts to address the crisis.

"By the time we meet in November, we must ask that difficult question and receive an answer," he said.

The UN Children's Fund said in a statement on Friday that at least 11 children were killed in "an airstrike and indiscriminate fire in civilian areas, including a school" in the northern central Sagaing region and that at least 15 children from the school were still missing.

According to Save the Children, 17 others were injured.

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