ASEAN Foreign Ministers Calls for Peace in Ukraine
South-East Asian countries have called for further talks to find a peaceful settlement to the Ukraine-Russia crisis. On February 27, foreign ministers from the ten ASEAN countries issued a statement asking for discussion between the parties involved in the Ukraine conflict.
|Ukraine oil terminal near Kyiv and gas pipeline in Kharkiv on fire after attack. Photo: The Guardian|
According to Reuters' acquisition of a draft of the declaration, the statement requests, "We call on all parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint, to pursue dialogue through all channels, including diplomatic means to contain the situation, to prevent it from further escalation and to see peaceful resolution in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter."
The armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine has alarmedASEAN foreign ministers, who have urged all parties to exercise extreme caution in order to prevent the situation from escalating. Given that the ASEAN draft statement represents a regional agreement, individual countries' answers will inevitably differ from the mean to varying degrees.
The statement came as tensions in Ukraine have risen after Russia recognized the self-proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states and initiated a special military operation in the Donbas, region of eastern Ukraine.
|Ukrainian soldiers seen at the site of a clash with Russian troops in Kyiv capital on February 26. Photo: AFP/VNA|
When being asked about the conflict in the presence of visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, current ASEAN Chairperson, stated, "Although we are far away and a small country, international issues such as this are very concerning to us."
"The Malaysian Prime Minister and I also discuss this issue and what we wish to see is a peaceful solution," Prime Minister Hun Sen told the media in Phnom Penh on February 24, according to The Strait Times.
"I and the Malaysian prime minister are of the opinion that ASEAN needs a strong voice. Therefore, any statement to be issued should have the consensus of ASEAN including on the Ukraine-Russia issue," Bernama news agency cites Prime Minister Hun Sen.
On an official visit to Cambodia, Malaysia Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government was saddened by the developments taking place in Ukraine.
"The government's priority at this time is to ensure that Malaysian families in Ukraine are safe," he said in a series of tweets last Thursday.
|Fighting on streets of Kharkiv after Russian tanks enter Ukrainian city. Photo: The Guardian|
Singapore's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Vivian Balakrishnan expressed on the situation, “Singapore is gravely concerned by Russia’s announcement of the start of a “special military operation” in the Donbas region; and reports of land and air attacks on multiple targets in Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
Singapore strongly condemns any unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext and stressed that Singapore "strongly condemns any unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext."
At the other end of the spectrum was Myanmar's beleaguered military government, which unsurprisingly praised Russia's incursion as "a necessary step to defend its sovereignty," as stated by the Diplomat.
Thailand's permanent delegate Suriya Chindawongse, speaking ahead of the United Nations General Assembly's 76th session in New York, stated that increasing tensions in Ukraine are threatening international peace and security.
|Suriya Chindawongse said Thailand joins the international community in urging all parties to display "ultimate restraint, avoid provocation, and refrain from using force, while also ensuring the protection of civilian life and infrastructure." Photo: The Nation Thailand.|
He went on to say that the Kingdom supports efforts to achieve a peaceful solution through UN Charter and international law-based negotiations based on sovereignty and territorial integrity principles.
Suriya further stated that Thailand supports the UN's efforts for a peaceful resolution through the Minsk agreements and other regional forums, noted by the Nation.
According to Vietnam News, the Vietnamese Embassy in Ukraine has been keeping a careful eye on the current tensions.
|Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Le Thi Thu Hang. Photo: Photo: Bao Giao Thong|
Responding to reporters' questions, Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said the country urged all parties to exercise caution, increase dialogue efforts, and push diplomatic measures to peacefully resolve problems in accordance with the United Nations Charter and basic principles of international law, therefore contributing to the region's and the world's peace, security, and stability.
Along with ASEAN leaders, many countries have announced sanctions against Russian entities and individuals, and excluded Russia from the global payment system (SWIFT). Meanwhile,Russia also has countermeasures.
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