Mon, 27 Sep 2021

Washington DC [US], August 4 (ANI): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed "grave concern" over military rule in Myanmar and urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to act to restore democracy there.

"(Blinken) expressed grave concerns about the military coup in Burma [Myanmar] and called on ASEAN to take joint action to urge the military to end the violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore Burma's path to democracy," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a readout.

Blinken made these remarks during the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers and the group's Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi during the US-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting, Price said.

"The Secretary and ASEAN foreign ministers discussed pressing regional and international challenges, including combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, acting boldly against the climate crisis, strengthening human capital development, and the urgency of action on Burma," Price said.

Blinken also reaffirmed the United States' commitment to ASEAN centrality and support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific as part of the US vision for a free and open region, Price said.

The US State Secretary and ASEAN foreign ministers discussed pressing regional and international challenges, including combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, acting boldly against the climate crisis, strengthening human capital development, and the urgency of action on Myanmar.

Aside from this, Secretary Blinken stressed the US commitment to leading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This includes providing more than 500 million safe and effective vaccine doses to Gavi for distribution by COVAX to 92 low- and middle-income countries around the world and to the African Union in addition to a USD 2 billion contribution to Gavi, the global vaccine initiative, in support of COVAX, making the United States the single largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19."Blinken noted that, to date, the United States has donated more than 23 million vaccine doses and nearly USD 160 million in assistance to ASEAN member states to combat COVID-19, Price said. (ANI)

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