Myanmar will not address world leaders at United Nation but Afghanistan will be present


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

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 25 (Reuters): No representative from Myanmar is scheduled to address the annual high-level UN General Assembly, a UN. spokesman said on Friday (Sept 24), amid rival claims for the country's UN seat in New York after a military coup ousted the elected government.

Competing claims have also been made on Afghanistan's UN seat after the Taliban seized power last month. The ambassador for the ousted government is set to give his speech on Monday.

"At this point, Myanmar is not speaking," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Myanmar's current UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun - appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government - had initially been expected to address the 193-member General Assembly on Monday, the final day of the gathering.

But diplomats said China, Russia and the United States had reached an understanding, where Moscow and Beijing will not object to Kyaw Moe Tun remaining in Myanmar's UN seat for the moment as long as he does not speak during the high-level meeting.

"I withdrew from the speaker list, and will not speak at this general debate," Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters, adding that he was aware of the understanding between some members of the UN credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States.

Myanmar's junta has put forward military veteran Aung Thurein to be its UN envoy, while Kyaw Moe Tun has asked to renew his U.N. accreditation, despite being the target of a plot to kill or injure him over his opposition to the February coup.

In a dramatic speech to a General Assembly meeting on Myanmar on Feb 26, Kyaw Moe Tun appealed for "the strongest possible action from the international community” to restore democracy to the country.

He also urged all countries to strongly condemn the coup, refuse to recognize the military regime, and ask the military leaders to respect the November 2020 elections won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

UN accreditation issues are dealt with by a nine-member committee, whose members include the United States, China and Russia.

It traditionally meets in October or November so a decision would not be made in time that would allow Muttaqi to address the high-level General Assembly meeting this year. Until a decision is made by the credentials committee on Myanmar, Kyaw Moe Tun will remain in the seat, according to the General Assembly rules.

Dujarric said that "for now, the Afghanistan representative inscribed on the list for Monday is Mr. Ghulam M. Isaczai." Isaczai is the current U.N. ambassador, who represents Afghanistan's government ousted by the Taliban.

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Monday asked to address the gathering of world leaders at the United Nations and nominated the Islamist group's Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's U.N. ambassador.

U.N. accreditation issues are dealt with by a nine-member committee, whose members include the United States, China and Russia. It traditionally meets in October or November so a decision would not be made in time that would allow Muttaqi to address the high-level General Assembly meeting this year.

Until a decision is made by the credentials committee on both Afghanistan and Myanmar, Isaczai and Kyaw Moe Tun will remain in the seats, according to the General Assembly rules.

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