Myanmar's Army Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing speaks during a conference in Naypyitaw. File/AP
The UN Security Council began an emergency meeting on Myanmar on Tuesday as the UN envoy for Myanmar urged an emergency meeting of the Security Council to ensure that "democracy is expeditiously restored” to the Southeast Asian nation, but the United Nations' most powerful body took no immediate action.
People walk in front of parliament compound buildings in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. File/Reuters
The behind-closed-doors discussions, held by videoconference, started at 10:00 am in New York (1500 GMT) and was expected to last two hours.
Christine Schraner Burgener, the Myanmar ambassador who is currently in Europe, strongly condemned the military’s takeover of the government and said the council must “collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar” and ensures the country "doesn’t fall back into isolation.”
Myanmar soldiers during a parade. File photo
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, called Myanmar "a friendly neighbour" on Tuesday and expressed hope that all parties "will properly handle their differences under the constitutional and legal framework and maintain political and social stability.”
"Whatever actions taken by the international community shall contribute to Myanmar’s political and social stability, promote its peace and reconciliation, and avoid escalating the conflict and complicating the situation,” Wang said in Beijing.
Myanmar has been a very difficult issue for the Security Council to take any action, but not impossible.
Diplomats said restoring democracy was the key element of a draft statement prepared for the council to release to the media after the closed-door meeting, along with a condemnation of the military's action and call for the immediate release of all those detained.
The UN Security Council begins an emergency meeting on Myanmar on Tuesday.
But the statement was not issued because it requires support from all 15 council members and the UN missions for China and Russia said they needed to send it to their capitals for review, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed. China has close ties to Myanmar.
Schraner Burgener told the council that the Myanmar military’s declaration of a state of emergency and detention of top leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and dozens of lawmakers and civilian officials just as the new parliamentary session was about to open Monday "was surprising and shocking.”
The military said the seizure of power was necessary because the government had not acted on the military’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud in November’s election in which Suu Kyi’s party won a majority of seats.
They also talked about beating the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change and working together to hold those responsible for the coup in Myanmar, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.
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The coup has sparked international condemnation and fears the military will drag 54 million people back to the decades of junta rule that turned Myanmar into one of Asia’s most impoverished and repressive nations.
The United States and United Nations condemned the use of force against protesters, who demand the reversal of the coup and the release of Suu Kyi and other detained leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) and activists.
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