International pressure is increasing on the military junta to end its deadly crackdown and restore democracy in Myanmar. On Friday, Apr 9th, Myanmar’s own ambassador to the United Nations pressed for a no-fly zone and sanctions.
At a meeting of the UN Security Council, a Southeast Asian summit on the crisis is being organized. The United States together with European nations are pleading for action. However, the Myanmar junta stood their ground and even refused entry to a UN special envoy to visit the country.
Lack of adequate and strong action
One official who rejects the Feb 1st coup and disregards the junta’s claims that he no longer represents Myanmar, is Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun. The Ambassador addressed the council saying that despite hundreds of deaths, including children, there is a lack of adequate and strong action by the Security Council.
In a virtual meeting, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun said “Your collective, strong action is needed immediately”. The Burmese and UN flags were clearly displayed behind his desk.
“I strongly believe that the international community, in particular the UN Security Council, will not let these atrocities keep going on in Myanmar.”
No fly zone
To avoid further bloodshed caused by military air strikes directly on civilian areas, the ambassador is calling for a no-fly zone. A second request is an international arms embargo. The last request by the ambassador is to freeze bank accounts having links with members of the military and their families.
The ambassador said until the democratically elected government is restored, all foreign direct investment in Myanmar should be put on hold.
China and Russia generally oppose international sanctions on Myanmar. However, Beijing, which is considered the Burmese military’s strongest ally, is voicing out its growing concern about instability in its neighboring country. Both Russia and China hold veto power at the Security Council.
Feel the cost
After ignoring previous condemnation, the junta “needs to feel the cost associated with its horrific actions”. This is the view of Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations.
Using Myanmar’s former name, Burma, she asked the Security Council, “Will the Council quibble over language in yet another statement or will we act to save the lives of the Burmese people?“
Estonia, a non-permanent member of the Council, called on members to work together on a resolution. Topics to include in the resolution should be sanctions and an arms embargo on Myanmar.
Searching for a resolution
Regional powers are stepping up efforts to find a resolution to Myanmar’s increasing violence. This is due to the increasing number of refugees fleeing the country through its borders.
Nathalie Broadhurst, France’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council that on Apr 20th, a summit on Myanmar of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will take place.
It will not be a video conference meeting. The organizers are expecting meeting delegates to attend in person. The ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta will host the meeting. Members hope a resolution will be reached, as there are divisions within the 10-country bloc.
Question of internal politics
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are in agreement for ASEAN to play a more active role. However, on the other end, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand prefer to take a back seat, as they feel the issue is related internal politics.
A UN diplomatic effort faced immediate opposition from the junta. The UN special envoy for Myanmar, Ms Christine Schraner Burgener, is currently on a tour of Asian countries. The junta did not grant her request to enter the country.
AFP quoted Burmese military spokesman Zaw Min Tun saying “We have not permitted this. We also have no plan to allow it at this moment.”
Request for face-to-face meetings denied
Ms Burgener requested face-to-face meetings with the junta. She also sought meeting up with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is in detention since the coup. Both requests were denied.
China has apparently opened contacts with the CRPH, a group representing the ousted civilian government, according to reports.
China is in contact with “all parties” in Myanmar. This is part of its efforts to restore stability, according to a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing.
10th April 2021 23:00
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