Which countries discussed the issue of Myanmar on the stage of the United Nations?
Every year in September, international leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly, and they discuss issues such as their country's affairs, an issue that urgently needs to be resolved in the region, the world economy, epidemic, climate change, and those who are suffering from hardships due to war.
At the opening of the 78th United Nations General Assembly held last week, Secretary-General António Guterres said that among the current issues facing the world, the arrest and killing of people after the military coup in Myanmar is an important issue.
Among the 10 member countries of ASEAN, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, and Thailand did not express the issue of Myanmar, which is a regional challenge. The leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore included the events in Myanmar in their speeches.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said, "We are quite worried about the violence and the unrest in the country after the military coup in Myanmar. The Myanmar issue is the biggest challenge for us in Southeast Asia, and we also need humanitarian aid. The Myanmar people are being subjected to atrocities that are not in line with international human rights standards and are defenseless. It is very important that the international community, including the United Nations, continue to put pressure on the Myanmar military authorities. Myanmar military needs to immediately stop terrorist acts following the ASEAN’s common agreements. Malaysia requests the Myanmar military again to implement ASEAN common agreements."
Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who served as the chairman of ASEAN for the past year, also said this on the stage of the United Nations regarding the Myanmar issue. "The common agreements established by ASEAN to resolve the Myanmar issue continue to be held by the member countries. We also continue to urge the Myanmar military to follow and implement these common agreements. ASEAN will do its best to help the Myanmar people."
In 2023, Indonesia held the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN and tried to resolve the Myanmar issue, but without success, it transferred the chairmanship to Laos for 2024.
Laos, which will hold the ASEAN chairmanship next year, has not said anything on the UN stage about the Myanmar issue. When Laos took over ASEAN's chairmanship, Laos talked about achieving unity among the members and international cooperation.
Singapore's foreign minister added, "It is true that the war between Russia and Ukraine is still going on. It is also true that it is the biggest war in violation of international laws and the rules of the United Nations. There was violence in Myanmar after the military coup in our Southeast Asian side of the world. The peace progress that the Myanmar people deserve is being destroyed. We are suffering the same with our brothers and sisters in Myanmar."
Among the ASEAN leaders who spoke at the United Nations this year, the new Prime Minister of Thailand and the new Prime Minister of Cambodia, General Hun Manet, had the opportunity to speak for the first time.
The new prime minister of neighboring Thailand did not mention the Myanmar issue on the UN stage but told reporters outside the conference that he was doing his best to help and take care of the Myanmar refugees in Thailand.
The President of East Timor, José Ramos-Horta, who is in the process of joining ASEAN and has a close relationship with the National Unity Government (NUG), spoke strongly about the Myanmar issue.
The president of East Timor said, "The Myanmar army is using a system of arson, and military helicopters are targeting civilians throughout the country. Since the military coup in 2021, at least 3,000 people have been killed and 17,000 people, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, have been unjustly arrested. The Myanmar People are looking for international help, and because this has not happened, they feel betrayed by the international community.”
U Moe Zaw Oo, Foreign Minister of the National Unity Government, criticized the fact that many ASEAN member countries did not speak about Myanmar on the UN stage. "There are more important things to talk about than the Myanmar issue. There are indeed many issues going on in the world. However, ASEAN member countries need to pay more attention to the Myanmar issue and make the world aware. The Myanmar issue is affecting the stability and security of the region, so the countries of the region should still have the opportunity to speak on the stage of the United Nations."
During the NLD government, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly and gave a speech. After the military coup in 2021, no one from Myanmar was allowed to attend the General Debate and this year has been excluded for the third year in a row.