Bangkok Defends Decision Not to Back UN Motion on Myanmar

By The Bangkok Post 21 June 2021

Thailand abstained on a vote to adopt the UN General Assembly resolution on the situation in Myanmar as the resolution did not take into account several essential factors, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said.

In remarks to the media, Tanee said the kingdom had bowed out of Friday’s vote in New York as the resolution failed to take into account the appropriate historical context of the conflict and could adversely affect the chances of arriving at a peaceful settlement, as well as magnify the security challenges Thailand faces if the conflict is prolonged.

“As a country that shares a 2,400-km border and multidimensional relationship with Myanmar, Thailand does not have the luxury of distance or existential separation that many other nations have,” he said.

“What happens in Myanmar today has direct security ramifications for Thailand tomorrow.”

He said the resolution did not reflect the complexities of the historical and on-the-ground situation in Myanmar before and after the Feb 1 coup. Currently, there are several parties to the conflict, and the task at hand is not to lay blame, but restore trust, he said.

According to the spokesman, “It is imperative the international community helps create an atmosphere of trust, not deepen animosity that will only lead to more insecurity, and hence violence.”

He said that ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, is in the best position to take steps to bring about swift and lasting peace, yet the resolution did not fully reflect the consensus reached at the ASEAN Special Summit on Myanmar in Jakarta on April 24.

He said Thailand believes that while it cannot change the past, the international community has an important role to play in creating a “safe space” to encourage all parties to the conflict to come the dialogue table.

He said Thailand’s prime concern is the livelihoods of the Myanmar people whose deprivation, both materially and spiritually, will only become more debilitating the longer the conflict goes on.

Thailand did not believe this resolution represented a path towards the sustainable peace settlement that the Myanmar people deserve, he said.

This article first appeared in The Bangkok Post.

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