UNITED NATIONS, Mar 03 (APP): The United Nations (UN) is facing a “unique situation” as diplomats nominated by rival governments in Myanmar are now claiming to represent the South-East Asian country at the world body, making it likely that member states will have to settle the dispute.
The problems began last week when Myanmar’s ambassador, who strongly opposed the military coup in his country, insists he remains the permanent representative to the United Nations, but the country’s foreign ministry has informed the UN that the ambassador has been terminated and his deputy is now in charge.
Responding to questions at a briefing on Tuesday, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN received two “contradictory” letters and is reviewing them to see who is the UN ambassador and whether the 193-member Assembly’s Credentials Committee will get involved.
“We are in a very unique situation we have not seen in a long time,” the spokesman said. “We are trying to sort through all the legal, protocol and other implications” and are “trying to resolve things as quickly as possible from our end.”
In a letters to the UN General Assembly President, Volkan Bozkir, and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Kyaw Moe Tun said he remains Myanmar’s UN ambassador.
“The perpetrators of the unlawful coup against the democratic government of Myanmar have no authority to countermand the legitimate authority of the president of my country,” he wrote.
Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said the office of secretary-general was notified on Tuesday that the Myanmar military junta had fired Kyaw Moe Tun and appointed his deputy Tin Maung Naing as the acting UN envoy.
According to the general assembly rules of procedure, credentials must be issued by either a head of state or government or a foreign minister. The communication sent to Guterres’ office on Tuesday was on Myanmar foreign ministry letterhead, but as a note verbale it was unsigned.
Kyaw Moe Tun noted in his letter that President Win Myint and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi appointed him last year and they remain lawfully elected to their roles.
Dujarric said the UN has not received any official notification of any change to Myanmar’s government since the February 1, coup.
The US mission said late Tuesday that the new Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, held a virtual meeting with Tun and reiterated United States (US) support. Diplomats said Tun also met virtually with European Union ambassadors.
The UN Security Council is expected to hold a closed meeting on the latest situation in Myanmar on Friday.