UN chief diplomat Antonio Guterres has called for a last-minute postponement of a virtual meeting with Southeast Asian ministers to avoid any recognition of Myanmar’s military government, diplomats say.
The meeting between the UN Secretary-General and the foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including military-appointed Foreign Minister Unna Mong Luin, was scheduled to take place last Friday.
But earlier in the day, Guterres called for the ASEAN meeting to be postponed “until it can be held in a mutually agreed manner, in light of ongoing urgent international and regional issues”, according to an October note from ASEAN chair Brunei – Reuters news agency.
UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Guterres did not want to go ahead with UN member states’ decision on who would take Myanmar’s seat at the UN after demands from the military and Kaya Mo Tun’s rival. UN Ambassador appointed by the elected government.
The generals seized power on February 1, detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected government leaders the day the new parliament was due to convene. UN certification gives weight to a government.
Guterres’ reluctance to attend the same meeting as military envoy comes as ASEAN foreign ministers are scheduled to hold a special meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers to discuss the removal of coup leader and military chief Min Aung Hlaing from the next meeting. The failure of the ruling army to adhere to a road map for peace that was drawn up six months ago.
ASEAN agreed to a five-point agreement with Min Aung Hlaing in April, but the generals made no progress in implementing it and refused to allow Brunei’s second foreign minister, Eriwan Youssef, to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi. .
According to the local watchdog group Assistant Association for Political Prisoners, it has continued its crackdown on opponents of its rule, with at least 1,171 people killed and more than 7,000 arrested since taking power. The army has been accused of attacking ethnic minority areas along the country’s border, forcing thousands to flee, as well as targeting churches and Christian clergy.
The meeting is scheduled to begin online at 11:00 GMT and will be attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Armed Forces.
Some of ASEAN’s 10 members, including the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, say Min Aung Hlaing should be Intercepted from the summit, Which is scheduled to begin on October 26 due to the army’s failure to make progress on the peace plan.
The party, which recognized Myanmar as a member in 1997 during the previous military dictatorship, usually makes decisions based on sensitivities.
In an open letter released on Wednesday, ASEAN parliamentarians for human rights, a group of regional lawmakers, called on the regime not to invite ASEAN to the conference because of its “clear disregard” for the five-point sensitivities.
“The lack of indecision and the consequences for the military’s complete contempt for ASEAN leaders’ agreement risks undermining the legitimacy of the bloc as a major regional player that could bring peace and stability,” the letter was signed by dozens more civil society groups and activists.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Loxin told me that he thought Myanmar’s junta chief Min Aung Hlaing should be excluded from the ASEAN summit. He said that if ASEAN leaves, “we are a group of boys who always agree with each other on worthless things” https://t.co/2GP29bUeFG
– Ben Bland (Benjamin Bland) October 14, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday discussed the ongoing unrest in Myanmar with Irrawaddy.
Both have expressed concern over the violence and growing crisis in the country, and called on the military to end the violence, release unjustly imprisoned prisoners and restore the country’s transition to democracy.
“They reiterated the need for the Burmese regime to be accountable to the ASEAN five-point sensitivities and facilitated a meaningful visit to Burma to engage with all stakeholders,” the State Department said in a statement.
The unscheduled virtual meeting, scheduled for Friday, was told by Reuters by multiple sources from ASEAN member countries, including Brunei, the current ASEAN president, diplomat and government official.
A UN committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States, is scheduled to meet next month to consider Myanmar’s applications for competitive certificates.
The military has fielded Aung Thurain as its candidate for the UN seat in Myanmar.