On February 7, 2021, a historic agreement was signed between the military and civilian leaders in Myanmar, marking a tentative step towards restoring democracy in the country.
The agreement came after weeks of protests and political turmoil following the military`s coup on February 1, which saw democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior officials detained.
The Feb 7 Agreement, also known as the Five-Point Consensus, was brokered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and included several key commitments from both sides.
Firstly, the agreement called for an immediate end to violence and for all parties to exercise restraint. The military agreed to stop using live ammunition against protesters, while the civilian leaders committed to preventing any violent acts from their supporters.
Secondly, the agreement called for talks between the two sides to be held to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. ASEAN was to facilitate these talks, which were to include all relevant parties.
Thirdly, the agreement called for the release of all political prisoners and detainees. The military agreed to release those who had been detained since the coup, while civilian leaders committed to ensuring that those arrested during the protests were released as well.
Fourthly, the agreement called for the establishment of a special envoy to facilitate dialogue between the two sides. ASEAN appointed Brunei`s second foreign minister, Erywan Yusof, as the special envoy.
Finally, the agreement called for humanitarian assistance to be provided to those affected by the crisis, including the provision of medical supplies and food.
The Feb 7 Agreement was hailed as a positive step towards resolving the crisis in Myanmar. However, it was met with skepticism by many, who pointed out that the military had broken previous agreements in the past.
Indeed, just days after the agreement was signed, the military launched a crackdown on protesters in the city of Mandalay, using tear gas and live rounds to disperse crowds.
Despite the challenges, there is still hope that the Feb 7 Agreement can pave the way towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Myanmar. As ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said, “This is just the start of a long process, but we hope that this will lead to a lasting solution that benefits the people of Myanmar.”