2021-09-26 18:58:56 Intrigue Deepens at U.N. Over Myanmar and Afghanistan

Intrigue Deepens at U.N. Over Myanmar and Afghanistan

No official from Myanmar will speak on Monday, the final day of the United Nations General Assembly plenary, according to U.N. officials, in an apparent 11th-hour compromise that would deny the country’s warring democratic and militarist factions a global platform.

U Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar’s accredited U.N. ambassador, was scheduled to speak on Monday. Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun was appointed by the government that was deposed in a February coup. Since then, he has publicly chastised the junta that now governs the country but is not widely recognized by the international community.

Myanmar was previously on a list of speakers. However, the chief United Nations spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, stated in an email on Saturday that “Myanmar is not on the speakers list.”

Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun did not respond to comment requests. However, he informed Reuters that he had withdrawn from the list. Myanmar, one of the 193 United Nations member states, is no longer on the list of country representatives who have yet to speak at the annual meeting.

According to Reuters, unidentified members of the General Assembly Credentials Committee, which includes China, Russia, and the United States, reached an agreement under which Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun would be allowed to keep his U.N. seat for the time being as long as he did not speak. Diplomats from the committee’s member countries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The US has condemned the junta and supported Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun’s right to represent Myanmar. China and Russia are major suppliers of weapons to Myanmar’s armed forces and have been far less critical of the February coup.

The Credentials Committee has yet to hold a formal hearing on the credentials challenges submitted by Myanmar’s junta and the Taliban militants who now control Afghanistan, which is also represented at the world body by an ambassador from a deposed government. As of Sunday, that envoy, Ghulam M. Isaczai, was still scheduled to speak, which could irritate the Taliban.

The right to speak at the United Nations on behalf of a country is an important indicator of its government’s international legitimacy and acceptance.

If the junta successfully deposed Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun in favor of its own envoy, it would be a significant public relations victory for the ruling generals and a setback for the former civilian government led by Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate imprisoned by the military on nebulous charges since the coup.

Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun has been an outspoken supporter of his country’s deposed government at the United Nations until now. For example, he thanked Derek H. Chollet, a senior State Department official, on Twitter last week for meeting him and supporting “our efforts for the restoration of democracy and the promotion and protection of human rights.”

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Intrigue Deepens at U.N. Over Myanmar and Afghanistan