UN meeting on Myanmar arms embargo postponed

Soldiers walk along a street as they search for protesters, who were taking part in a demonstration against the military coup, in downtown Yangon on May 6, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
  • Agence France-Presse
  • May 18, 2021 3:10 AM

United Nations, United States | A UN General Assembly meeting set for Tuesday to discuss a non-binding resolution on halting arms transfers to Myanmar was postponed indefinitely because there was not enough support to pass the text, diplomatic sources said Monday. 

The authors "did not have the support they expected" in order to pass the motion with a large majority of the Assembly's 193 member countries, one diplomat said on condition of anonymity. 

And they "wanted more time for negotiations," especially with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, another source told AFP. 

The text was drafted at the request of Liechtenstein, with the support of 48 countries, including Britain, the European Union and the United States -- but with South Korea as the only Asian country signed on. 

South Korea's support came after several weeks of negotiations in an effort to gain the backing of at least one ASEAN country.  

The resolution, which would have been non-binding but politically powerful, 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."

It asked for military authorities in Myanmar -- which took control of government operations in a coup February 1 -- to "end the state of emergency" and to "immediately stop all violence against peaceful demonstrators."

It also demanded that the military "immediately and unconditionally" release President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians under arbitrary detention.

The resolution also called on Myanmar to "swiftly implement" a consensus plan to restore democracy that was reached at an April ASEAN meeting and to allow a visit from UN representatives, which has so far been blocked. 

Finally, the draft resolution called for "safe and unimpeded humanitarian access."

The coup ended a 10-year foray into democracy, setting off a near-daily series of demonstrations that have been met with sometimes violent repression. 


© Agence France-Presse

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