A UN official confirmed on Friday that no delegate from Myanmar is scheduled to attend the annual high-level UN General Assembly. The announcement comes amid competing claims for the country’s UN seat in New York following a military coup that deposed the country’s democratic government.
Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan’s government last month, several competing claims have been made for the country’s UN seat. On Monday, the ambassador for the deposed government is scheduled to deliver a statement.
In a statement, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Myanmar was “at this stage not speaking.”
Initial expectations were that Myanmar’s current UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, who was chosen by Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected administration, would address the 193-member General Assembly on Monday, the penultimate day of the assembly.
The United States and Russia have reached a tentative agreement in which Moscow and Beijing will not object to Kyaw Moe Tun remaining in Myanmar’s UN seat for the time being as long as he does not speak during the high-level conference, according to diplomats.
“I withdrew from the speaker list and will not be speaking at this general debate,” Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters, adding that he was aware of an agreement reached between some members of the UN credentials committee, which includes representatives from Russia, China, and the United States. Kyaw Moe Tun is a Myanmar politician who was elected to the UN General Assembly in 2011.
Myanmar’s junta has nominated military veteran Aung Thurein to be its UN representative, while Kyaw Moe Tun has applied to have his UN accreditation renewed, despite the fact that he is the subject of a plan to assassinate or hurt him for his opposition to the February military coup.
Dujarric stated that “for the time being, Mr. Ghulam M. Isaczai, the Afghanistan delegate on the list for Monday has been inscribed on the list.” As the current UN ambassador, Isaczai represents Afghanistan’s government, which was deposed by the Taliban in late 2014.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s foreign minister, was invited to address a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations on Monday and nominated Suhail Shaheen, the Islamist group’s spokesman stationed in Doha, to serve as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the organisation.
The United Nations accreditation process is overseen by a nine-member commission, whose members include representatives from the United States, China, and Russia. Given that it typically meets in October or November, a decision would not be reached in time for Muttaqi to speak at the high-level General Assembly meeting this year, which would be inappropriate.
According to the rules of the General Assembly, Isaczai and Kyaw Moe Tun will continue to serve in their positions until a decision is reached by the credentials committee on Afghanistan and Myanmar, respectively.