UN Assembly to vote on resolution condemning Myanmar junta

Myanmar's ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun addresses the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 11, 2019. - Reuters

UNITED NATIONS, June 17, 2021 (AFP): The UN General Assembly will vote later on Friday in New York, United States on a non-binding resolution condemning the military junta in Myanmar and calling on member states to curb the "flow of arms" into the violence-wracked country, diplomats said.

The vote will come on the same day that the Security Council holds informal talks on the situation in the former Burma, where the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.

The draft General Assembly resolution, which was obtained by AFP, was weeks in the making, and is the fruit of talks between the West and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is acting as a mediator in the crisis.

The two sides will look on Friday to see the resolution adopted by consensus, not a vote, one diplomat told AFP on Thursday.

The position of China, Myanmar's main ally, was unknown as of Thursday. Any country can ask that a vote be held, at which point Beijing could abstain, diplomats said.

In mid-May, a first effort to see a text on Myanmar voted through was stopped short, as the West preferred to negotiate with ASEAN member states in order to get the largest possible support for the initiative.

That original effort called for the "immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment to Myanmar."

But the new text is decidedly more vague, calling "on all member states to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar."

In a recent letter to the United Nations, Myanmar's envoy to the world body, Kyaw Moe Tun, called for "effective collective measures" to be taken against the junta, amid a deadly months-long crackdown on dissent that has left more than 850 dead.

Kyaw Moe Tun -- who supports a full arms embargo on Myanmar -- has passionately rejected the February 1 coup and brushed aside the junta's claims that he no longer represents Myanmar. The United Nations still considers him as the rightful envoy.

In principle, the Security Council is the more likely venue to consider an arms embargo, and such a measure would be binding in that case, but China's veto power makes that scenario unlikely.

The draft General Assembly resolution calls for a restoration of democracy in Myanmar, the release of all detained civilian leaders and demands that the military "immediately stop all violence against peaceful demonstrators."

It also asks for the implementation of a five-point plan drafted by Asean in April including the naming of an envoy from the bloc.

The text, co-sponsored by more than 50 countries, also calls on the junta to allow the UN envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, to visit the country, and for safe passage of humanitarian aid. - AFP
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