Myanmar’s junta criticizes UN delay in approval of its chosen envoy

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Myanmar’s junta on Thursday criticized the UN’s decision to deny its elected representative a seat on the world body and keep in his place an envoy appointed by the ousted Aung San Suu Kyi government.

The committee responsible for approving nominations for ambassadors to the New York body met on Wednesday but delayed a decision on rival claims for the Myanmar and Afghanistan seats, diplomats said.

The postponement keeps the envoys appointed to the body by both governments before they were ousted, by a coup in Myanmar in February and the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in August.

“This decision does not reflect the reality on the ground and the existence of our country,” Myanmar’s board spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

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“We will continue to submit (to the UN) as usual in accordance with diplomatic procedure and the right of representation in accordance with international and local laws,” he added.

The postponement leaves Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by the Suu Kyi government, as Myanmar’s envoy.

He made headlines shortly after the coup by showing the three-finger salute to democracy protesters from his UN chair, blatantly defying the board’s insistence that he no longer represents the country.

In August, US prosecutors said they had charged two Myanmar citizens in a plot to attack him.

The board has denied any involvement and has chosen former private Aung Thurein as its envoy to the corps.

In September, the Taliban asked the UN to accept their former Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen to succeed Ghulam Isaczai, a member of the cabinet of ousted President Ashraf Ghani.

Isaczai continues to occupy Afghanistan’s offices at UN headquarters and even participated in a recent Security Council meeting where he openly criticized the Taliban.

There was “consensus” within the credentials committee to delay the decision, two diplomats who requested anonymity told AFP.

“China, Russia and the United States were in the same position,” said one of them.

The nine-member committee is due to present its report next week to the General Assembly, which will be left to decide by a possible vote if its 200 members fail to reach a consensus, diplomats said.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the army toppled Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy government, sparking huge protests for democracy that sparked a bloody crackdown by the junta.

NLD lawmakers make up the majority of a shadow “Government of National Unity” that is working to overthrow the military regime, which the junta has called “terrorists.”

Suu Kyi has been detained since the coup and faces a catalog of charges that could land her in jail for decades.

(AFP)