UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council adopted its first resolution on Myanmar in 74 years on Wednesday (Dec 21) to demand an end to violence and urge the military junta to release all political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar has been in crisis since the army took power from Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on Feb 1, 2021, detaining her and other officials and responding to pro-democracy protests and dissent with lethal force.
“Today we’ve sent a firm message to the military that they should be in no doubt – we expect this resolution to be implemented in full,” Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward said after the vote on the British-drafted resolution.
“We’ve also sent a clear message to the people of Myanmar that we seek progress in line with their rights, their wishes and their interests,” Woodward told the 15-member council.
It has long been split on how to deal with the Myanmar crisis, with China and Russia arguing against strong action. They both abstained from the vote on Wednesday, along with India. The remaining 12 members voted in favour.
“China still has concerns,” China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun told the council after the vote. “There is no quick fix to the issue … Whether or not it can be properly resolved in the end, depends fundamentally, and only, on Myanmar itself.”
He said China had wanted the Security Council to adopt a formal statement on Myanmar, not a resolution.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow did not view the situation in Myanmar as a threat to international peace and security and therefore believed it should not be dealt with by the UN Security Council.