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Indonesian president calls for peace, condemns ‘shootout’ in Myanmar

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo on Monday condemned a “shootout” involving Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officials delivering humanitarian aid in Myanmar, and called for an end to violence in the strife-torn country.

It was unclear who was behind the incident which, according to Indonesian foreign ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah, took place in Hsi Hseng township in the western Shan State and targeted officials from the ASEAN humanitarian assistance center.

Myanmar has been trapped in a spiral of violence and economic turmoil since the military overthrew an elected government in 2021 and launched a brutal campaign to crush dissent.

Intensifying military attacks and clashes with armed resistance movements across the country have prompted calls, including from Myanmar’s ASEAN neighbors, to end all hostilities and allow access for humanitarian aid.

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Jokowi, as the Indonesian president is popularly known, did not give details of what he called a “shootout” but said it would not deter efforts by Indonesia and ASEAN to push for peace in Myanmar.

“Stop using force, stop violence because it’s the people who will be victims. This condition will not make anybody win,” he said, adding that Indonesia encourages all stakeholders to have a dialogue and find solutions.

Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government, which is allied with the anti-junta militias, the People’s Defence Forces (PDF), said it was not involved in the incident.

The PDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for the Myanmar junta did not respond to a request for comment by Reuters.

Indonesia has for months been quietly engaging the Myanmar junta, shadow government and armed ethnic groups to try and kick-start a peace process, its foreign minister said last week.

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