UN rejects seats for Myanmar junta, Taliban, Libya’s east

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly on Friday rejected attempts by Myanmar’s military junta, Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, and Libya’s rival eastern-based government to take their country’s seats at the United Nations.

The 193-member world body voted by consensus, with a bang of the gavel by assembly president Csaba Kőrösi, to approve a recommendation by its Credentials Committee that the requests be deferred.

The decision means that Myanmar will remain being represented at the United Nations by Kyaw Moe Tun, who was Myanmar’s ambassador when the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, 2021.

Afghanistan’s seat will remain with the country’s previous government led by President Ashraf Ghani, which was ousted by the Taliban in August 2021. And Libyan Ambassador Taher Elsonni, who represents the government based in the capital, Tripoli, in western Libya will remain the country’s envoy.

Guyana’s U.N. ambassador, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, who chairs the credentials committee, introduced its report before the vote, citing rival communications from Myanmar, Afghanistan and Libya seeking to represent their countries.

“The committee decided to postpone its consideration of the credentials pertaining to the representatives of Myanmar, Afghanistan and of Libya” to a future time in the current 77th session of the General Assembly, which ends next September, she said.

Kőrösi then gaveled adoption of the resolution approving the committee’s report.

Myanmar’s military rulers sought the U.N. seat after Suu Kyi was ousted. The army’s coup was met with widespread peaceful protests that were quashed with lethal force, triggering armed resistance that some U.N. experts have characterized as civil war.

After the Taliban overran Afghanistan in the final weeks of the U.S. and NATO forces’ pullout from the country after 20 years of war, they sought a U.N. seat and initially promised to allow women’s and minority rights. Instead, they have banned secondary education for girls, severely restricted work and travel for women, and carried out public lashings and a public execution.

Oil-rich Libya plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. In the chaos that followed, the county split, with the rival administrations backed by rogue militias and foreign governments. The country’s current political crisis stems from the failure to hold elections on Dec. 24, 2021.

The country’s prime minister who led a transitional government in Tripoli refused to step down and the country’s east-based parliament appointed a rival prime minister who sought the U.N. seat.

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