UN General Assembly to consider call for Myanmar arms embargo

Several NGOs have long been calling for an arms embargo on Myanmar.
Several NGOs have long been calling for an arms embargo on Myanmar.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The UN General Assembly on Tuesday (May 18) is set to consider a draft non-binding resolution calling for "an immediate suspension" of the transfer of weapons to the military junta of Myanmar, a UN official said Sunday.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are non-binding but carry strong political significance.

If an approval by consensus cannot be reached then the full General Assembly - 193 member states - will vote on the measure.

Introduced by Liechtenstein, with support from the European Union, Britain, and the United States, the measure will be considered at the plenary meeting set for Tuesday at 1900 GMT (3am Singapore time on Wednesday).

The draft resolution calls for "an immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment to Myanmar".

"The meeting will be in person", a UN spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

The draft, which has been under negotiation for weeks, is co-sponsored by 48 countries, with South Korea being the sole Asian country.

It also calls on military to "end the state of emergency" and immediately stop "all violence against peaceful demonstrators", as well as "immediately and unconditionally release President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi" and everyone who has been "arbitrarily detained, charged or arrested" since the Feb 1 coup.

The draft adds a call to "swiftly implement" a five-point consensus reached with leaders from the 10-country Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) on April 24, to "facilitate the visit" of the special UN envoy to Myanmar, and to provide "safe and unimpeded humanitarian access".

Several NGOs have long been calling for an arms embargo on Myanmar.

Since Feb 1, the Security Council has unanimously adopted four statements on Myanmar, but each time, they have been watered down in negotiations, notably by Beijing.