Myanmar’s Civilian UN Ambassador to Stay for Now as UN Delays Decision

By The Irrawaddy 2 December 2021

In the latest blow to its effort to win international recognition, Myanmar’s junta will not be given a seat at the United Nations for now after a UN committee in New York deferred a decision on who will represent Myanmar and Afghanistan at the UN.

On Wednesday, the nine-nation Credentials Committee of the General Assembly, which is responsible for approving the diplomatic representation of each UN member state, held a closed meeting on applications by the Taliban regime, which currently wields power in Kabul, and the Myanmar junta to replace the ambassadors of the governments they deposed in August and February, respectively.

Credentials Committee chairwoman Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström of Sweden told reporters after the meeting that the panel “defers its decision of the credentials in these two situations.”

That means the UN will continue to recognize Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun, who was appointed by the ousted National League for Democracy government but continues to represent Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG).

Myanmar netizens welcomed the UN committee’s decision following the news on Thursday.

At a General Assembly gathering in late February, U Kyaw Moe Tun denounced the coup, defended the elected civilian government overthrown by the Feb. 1 takeover and asked for the international community’s help in restoring democracy in Myanmar.

The General Assembly is expected to endorse the committee’s decision, as China and Russia did not object to it, said the NUG’s Minister of Human Rights U Aung Myo Min. Both countries are UN Credentials Committee members and both have cozy relationships with the Myanmar military.

While acknowledging that it does not amount to official recognition of the NUG, U Aung Myo Min welcomed the UN’s continued recognition of Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun, who now represents the NUG. “The ambassador will continue to raise the NUG’s policies and the Myanmar people’s voice at the UN.”

In an unusual move, the General Assembly voted in June to condemn the coup and the junta’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

The Myanmar junta has pitted itself against ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun and made a rival claim for the UN seat, putting forward military veteran U Aung Thurein as its choice for UN envoy, but the move has been unsuccessful.

Citing diplomats, Reuters reported that the committee would make the deferral recommendation in a report to be submitted to the General Assembly next week.

Minister U Aung Myo Min reiterated his call for the international community to recognize the NUG and to pressure the Myanmar regime.

“[We] will continue our efforts to remove the military junta from power,” he said.

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