UN Assembly to vote on resolution condemning Myanmar military

Myanmar’s UN envoy, Kyaw Moe Tun, calls for ‘effective collective measures’ including full arms embargo against the country.

The draft General Assembly resolution calls for a restoration of democracy in Myanmar, the release of all detained civilian leaders and demands that the military 'immediately stop all violence against peaceful demonstrators' [File: Burma Associated Press/AFP]

The UN General Assembly will vote on Friday on a non-binding resolution condemning the military regime in Myanmar and calling on member states to curb the “flow of arms” into the violence-wracked country, diplomats said.

The vote will come on the same day that the Security Council holds informal talks on the situation in the country, where the military overthrew elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and seized power on February 1.

The draft General Assembly resolution, which was obtained by the AFP news agency, was weeks in the making, and follows talks between western countries and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is acting as a mediator in the crisis.

The two sides will look on Friday to see the resolution adopted by consensus, not a vote, one diplomat told AFP on Thursday.

The position of China, Myanmar’s main ally, remains unknown. Any country can ask that a vote be held, at which point Beijing could abstain, diplomats said.

In mid-May, a first effort to see a text on Myanmar voted through was stopped so Western diplomats could negotiate with ASEAN member states to secure the largest possible support for the initiative.

That original effort called for the “immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment to Myanmar”.

But the new text is decidedly more vague, calling “on all member states to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar”.

‘Effective collective measures’

In a recent letter to the United Nations, Myanmar’s envoy to the world body, Kyaw Moe Tun, called for “effective collective measures” to be taken against the military, amid a deadly months-long crackdown on dissent that has left more than 860 dead.

Kyaw Moe Tun – who supports a full arms embargo on Myanmar – has passionately rejected the February 1 coup and brushed aside the military’s claims that he no longer represents Myanmar.

The United Nations still considers him the country’s rightful envoy.

In principle, the Security Council is the more likely venue to consider an arms embargo, and such a measure would be binding in that case, but China’s veto power makes that scenario unlikely.

The draft General Assembly resolution calls for a restoration of democracy in Myanmar, the release of all detained civilian leaders and demands that the military “immediately stop all violence against peaceful demonstrators”.

It also asks for the implementation of a five-point plan drafted by ASEAN in April including the naming of an envoy from the grouping.

The text, co-sponsored by more than 50 countries, also calls on the military to allow the UN envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, to visit the country, and for the safe passage of humanitarian aid.

Even as diplomats continue to put pressure on Myanmar’s generals, officials from ASEAN continue to meet military-appointed Myanmar officials. Myanmar joined the 10-member organisation in 1997 when the country was ruled by the military.

On Wednesday, the group’s defence ministers meeting was attended by Myanmar military government-designated official, Mya Tun Oo. The meeting was also attended by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Rights groups and Myanmar opposition have been criticising the international community for giving legitimacy to Myanmar’s coup by meeting the military officials.

Source: AFP, Al Jazeera