U.N. council adopts first Myanmar resolution in decades
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 21 (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council adopted its first resolution on Myanmar in 74 years on Wednesday 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 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.
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 favor.
“China still has concerns,” China’s U.N. 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 U.N. 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 U.N. Security Council.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the resolution’s adoption. “This is an important step by the Security Council to address the crisis and end the Burma military regime’s escalating repression and violence against civilians,” he said in a statement.
Until now the council had only agreed formal statements on Myanmar, where the army also led a 2017 crackdown on Rohingya Muslims that was described by the United States as genocide. Myanmar denies genocide and said it was waging a legitimate campaign against insurgents who attacked police posts.