Taliban and Myanmar junta remain out of UN after key meeting

Taliban militants patrol Kabul
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A United Nations committee on Wednesday decided to maintain the current diplomatic status quo regarding the representation of Afghanistan and Myanmar at the international body, leaving the Taliban and Burmese junta out of the organization for the time being.

The nine-member U.N. Credentials Committee — comprised of the U.S., China, Russia, the Bahamas, Bhutan, Chile, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Sweden — decided to defer on deciding on who will represent Myanmar and Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

Committee chair, Swedish U.N. ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, declined to say whether the current ambassadors to these two countries, appointed under governments that are no longer in power, will remain in their positions.

As Reuters noted, acceptance of these governments into the U.N. would have been a step further towards international recognition. The Taliban overthrew the Western-backed, internationally-recognized Afghan government in August and has since sought to be recognized by the international community.

Though some countries like China have signalled their willingness to cooperate with the Taliban, no countries have yet recognized it as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

In September, the Taliban appointed Doha-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen to be Afghanistan’s U.N. envoy, meant to replace Ghulam Isaczai, who was appointed by ousted President Ashraf Ghani.

During the U.N. General Assembly in September, neither Afghanistan nor Myanmar addressed the body, though they had both been on the schedule. In a deal brokered between the U.S., Russia and China, Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by the previous democratically-elected Burmese government, was permitted to retain his position as the Burmese U.N. representative.

Former U.N. Special Envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener warned the international community against recognizing the military junta before she stepped down last month.

—Updated Thursday at 10:52 a.m.

Tags Afghanistan Myanmar Suhail Shaheen Taliban United Nations

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