JAKARTA (Reuters) – Nine Southeast Asian countries have urged the United Nations not to endorse a freeze on arms sales to Myanmar, according to a report from Benar News.
The report by the affiliate of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia, quoted a Liechtenstein diplomat as saying the nine states wrote a letter to nations sponsoring a draft U.N. General Assembly resolution on Myanmar, where a Feb. 1 coup has sparked mass protests and a bloody crackdown by the military-led junta.
The news outlet said the letter asked countries sponsoring the draft resolution to remove a sentence calling for “an immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer of all weapons and munitions” to Myanmar.
The letter was sent on behalf of nine of the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping but did not include bloc member Myanmar, Benar News reported.
Benar News quoted Georg Sparber, deputy permanent representative at Liechtenstein’s mission to the U.N., as saying there was “no reason given in the letter” for the request. Benar News did not obtain a copy of the letter.
Liechtenstein’s U.N. mission did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
A spokesman for Indonesia’s foreign ministry said he was unaware of the letter and referred Reuters to ASEAN. A spokesman for ASEAN did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
ASEAN is leading the diplomatic effort to end bloodshed in Myanmar and promote dialogue between the junta and its opponents.
A planned vote on the non-binding resolution by the U.N. General Assembly was suspended last week, with some diplomats saying the delay was to rally more support. (https://reut.rs/3oUP8EO)
(Reporting by Tom Allard; Editing by Ed Davies)