Sunday, January 23, 2022

Myanmar junta, Taliban condemn move to deny envoys seats at UN

The committee responsible for approving nominations of ambassadors met but deferred a decision over rival claims to the seats for both countries, diplomats say.

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Myanmar’s junta and the Taliban authorities of Afghanistan on Thursday slammed the United Nations for denying their chosen representatives seats at the world body.

The committee responsible for approving nominations of ambassadors met Wednesday but deferred a decision over rival claims to the seats for both countries, diplomats said.

The deferral keeps in place envoys appointed to the UN by former governments in both nations before they were toppled – by a coup in Myanmar in February and the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan in August.

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

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

The deferral leaves Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, in place as Myanmar’s envoy.

He made headlines shortly after the putsch by flashing the three-finger salute of democracy protesters from his UN chair, brazenly defying the junta’s insistence that he no longer represents the country.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 junta has denied any involvement and chosen former soldier Aung Thurein as its envoy to the UN body.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy government, sparking huge democracy protests which have triggered a bloody crackdown from the junta.

The Taliban in September asked the UN to accept its former Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen to succeed Ghulam Isaczai, a cabinet member of ousted President Ashraf Ghani.

Shaheen on Twitter said the UN had “deprived the people of Afghanistan of their legitimate right”.

“We have the support of the people of Afghanistan and we are able to defend the country, the people and all the borders,” he added to AFP.

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

The Taliban have been seeking international recognition for their new government as the country faces worsening economic and humanitarian disasters.

There was “consensus” within the UN credentials committee to delay the decision, two diplomats told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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

The nine-member committee is due to submit a report next week to the General Assembly, diplomats said.

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