UN shelves decision on Afghanistan’s representation

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on Monday indefinitely postponing the international recognition of Afghanistan’s Taliban and Myanmar’s military junta, which would see their envoys accredited at the global forum.

A resolution, modeled on an agreement last week by the influential UN Credentials Committee that includes the United States, Russia, and China, was adopted by consensus without a vote by the UN member states.

Last week, the committee recommended to “defer its decision on the credentials pertaining to the representatives of Myanmar” and Afghanistan during the current session of the General Assembly, which ends in September 2022.

No further meetings of the nine-nation committee, chaired by Sweden, are expected in the short to medium term. For Afghanistan and Myanmar, competing applications for accreditation from both old and new regimes were on the table at the UN.

Wunna Maung Lwin, the foreign minister of Myanmar, which was rocked by a military coup on February 1, appointed on August 18 former military commander Aung Thurein.

But the envoy appointed by deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Kyaw Moe Tun, defied the junta to stay in his post and on August 21 asked the UN to keep him on.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the UN, Ghulam Isaczai, appointed by ousted president Ashraf Ghani, submitted a request to stay on at the body on September 14.

On 20 September, the Taliban, which swept back to power in Afghanistan in mid-August, asked the UN to accept Suhail Shaheen — a former spokesman for the Islamist group — as the country’s new representative.

Both the Taliban and the Myanmar junta have criticised the UN committee for not confirming their chosen ambassadors.

“This decision is not based on legal rules and justice because they have deprived the people of Afghanistan of their legitimate right,” Shaheen tweeted last week.

Zaw Min Tun, Myanmar junta spokesman, said the committee’s choice did not reflect the reality on the ground.

The committee on Wednesday confirmed envoys of 191 other nations, with one eliciting a reservation from the United States: Venezuela.