Southeast Asian states want to drop proposed UN call for arms embargo on Myanmar
NEW YORK: Nine Southeast Asian countries offered to water down a UN General Assembly draft resolution on Myanmar, including removing a call for an arms embargo on the country , with the aim of gaining the unanimous support of the 193 members.
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have written to Liechtenstein, which drafted the resolution, after a vote scheduled last week was postponed to the last minute.
In the letter dated May 19 and seen by Reuters on Friday May 28, countries in Southeast Asia said the project “cannot receive the broadest possible support in its current form, especially from all directly affected countries in the region “and that further negotiations are necessary” to make the text acceptable, in particular to the countries most directly affected and which are now engaged in efforts to resolve the situation “.
“We are also firmly convinced that if a General Assembly resolution on the situation in Myanmar is to be of any use to ASEAN countries, it must be adopted by consensus,” the countries wrote, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian nations.
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The letter came from all ASEAN countries except Myanmar.
The draft resolution calls for “an immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer of all arms and ammunition” to Myanmar. Southeast Asian countries want this language to be abolished.
General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but have political weight. Unlike the 15 members of the Security Council, no country has a veto power in the General Assembly.
Myanmar has been in crisis since the military ousted the elected government of leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1 and detained her and officials from her National League for Democracy party.
While the countries of Southeast Asia want the United Nations draft resolution to express their deep concern about their detention, instead of condemning it, the text would call for their immediate and unconditional release.
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An ASEAN spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
ASEAN is leading the diplomatic effort to end the bloodshed in Myanmar and promote dialogue between the junta and its opponents.
Earlier this month, more than 200 civil society groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, urged the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar.
Only the UN Security Council can impose legally binding sanctions or an arms embargo, but diplomats said Russia and China could likely use their veto to prevent such action against Myanmar.