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International relations

Myanmar will not address world leaders at U.N., Afghanistan will

Myanmar's U.N. ambassador withdraws from speaking

"At this point, Myanmar is not speaking," said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.   © Reuters

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- No representative from Myanmar is scheduled to address the annual high-level U.N. General Assembly, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday, amid rival claims for the country's U.N. seat in New York after a military coup ousted the elected government.

Competing claims have also been made on Afghanistan's U.N. seat after the Taliban seized power last month. The ambassador for the ousted government is set to give his speech on Monday.

"At this point, Myanmar is not speaking," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Myanmar's current U.N. Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun -- appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government -- had initially been expected to address the 193-member General Assembly on Monday, the final day of the gathering.

But diplomats said China, Russia and the United States had reached an understanding, where Moscow and Beijing will not object to Kyaw Moe Tun remaining in Myanmar's U.N. seat for the moment as long as he does not speak during the high-level meeting.

"I withdrew from the speaker list, and will not speak at this general debate," Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters, adding that he was aware of the understanding between some members of the U.N. credentials committee, which includes Russia, China and the United States.

Myanmar's junta has put forward military veteran Aung Thurein to be its U.N. envoy, while Kyaw Moe Tun has asked to renew his U.N. accreditation, despite being the target of a plot to kill or injure him over his opposition to the February coup.

Dujarric said that "for now, the Afghanistan representative inscribed on the list for Monday is Mr. Ghulam M. Isaczai." Isaczai is the current U.N. ambassador, who represents Afghanistan's government ousted by the Taliban.

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Monday asked to address the gathering of world leaders at the United Nations and nominated the Islamist group's Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghanistan's U.N. ambassador.

U.N. accreditation issues are dealt with by a nine-member committee, whose members include the United States, China and Russia. It traditionally meets in October or November so a decision would not be made in time that would allow Muttaqi to address the high-level General Assembly meeting this year.

Until a decision is made by the credentials committee on both Afghanistan and Myanmar, Isaczai and Kyaw Moe Tun will remain in the seats, according to the General Assembly rules. 

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