The United Nations is weighing Myanmar’s credentials, amid mounting frustration in ASEAN over the failure of military rulers to implement a peace plan.
UN diplomats said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had asked to postpone a virtual meeting with Southeast Asian ministers at the last minute to avoid signaling any recognition of Myanmar’s military government by being in the same room as the military envoy online.
The meeting between the UN Secretary-General and the foreign ministers of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – including Wonna Maung Lwin, the military-appointed foreign minister – had been scheduled for last Friday.
But the day before, Guterres had asked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to postpone the meeting “until it can be held in a mutually acceptable format, in light of the pressing international and regional issues underway,” according to an Oct. Reuters Agency – Notify members of the delay.
UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Guterres did not want to pre-empt a decision by UN member states over who would sit for Myanmar’s seat at the world body following competing claims by the military and Kyaw Moe Tun, incumbent. The UN ambassador appointed by the elected government.
The generals seized power on February 1, arresting Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected government leaders on the day the new parliament was scheduled to convene. UN credentials give weight to the government.
News of Guterres’ reluctance to appear at the same meeting as a military envoy comes as ASEAN foreign ministers are scheduled to hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss the exclusion of coup leader and military commander Min Aung Hlaing from the upcoming summit, amid mounting frustration over the ruling military’s non-compliance with the roadmap. Peace that was established six months ago.
ASEAN agreed to a five-point consensus with Min Aung Hlaing in April, but the generals made no progress in implementing it and also ruled out allowing a regional envoy, Brunei’s second foreign minister, Irwan Yusuf, to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi. .
It also continues to crack down on opponents of its rule, with at least 1,171 people killed since seizing power and more than 7,000 arrested, according to the local monitoring group, the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners. The military has also been accused of launching attacks in ethnic minority areas in the country’s border regions, forcing thousands to flee, as well as targeting churches and Christian clergy.
Some of the 10 ASEAN members, including the Philippines and Malaysia, said Min Aung Hlaing should be banned from the summit, scheduled to begin on October 26, due to the lack of military cooperation.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed Myanmar with Eriwan in a phone call on Thursday.
The two expressed their “concern about the violence and the worsening crisis” in the country and the need for the army to end the violence, release the unjustly imprisoned and restore the country’s transition to democracy.
“They also emphasized the need to hold the Burmese regime accountable to the five-point ASEAN consensus and to facilitate a purposeful visit by Erewan to Burma to include engagements with all stakeholders,” the State Department said in a statement issued after the call.
Multiple sources in ASEAN member countries, including diplomats and government officials, told Reuters that the unscheduled virtual meeting on Friday will be hosted by Brunei, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
A UN panel, which includes Russia, China and the United States, is due to meet next month to consider Myanmar’s competing accreditation applications.
The military presented Aung Turin as a candidate for Myanmar’s seat at the United Nations.