U.N. Security Council calls for release of Myanmar leaders after coup

Feb 05 , 2021. 7 hours ago – 06:06 KYODO NEWS

United Nations headquarters in New York.(Getty/Kyodo)

NEW YORK – The U.N. Security Council on Thursday called for “the immediate release of all those detained” including Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi following a military coup earlier this week in the Southeast Asian country.

The members of the Security Council “expressed deep concern at the declaration of the state of emergency imposed in Myanmar by the military on 1 February and the arbitrary detention of members of the government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and others,” they said in a press statement.

A day after the military coup, the Security Council held a closed-door meeting to discuss the situation. Britain, serving as chair of the session, was not able to steer the council to a unified message of condemning the coup as China and Russia requested more time to assess the matter, according to a diplomatic source.

As further negotiations among the 15 member countries continued, China sought changes in the statement’s wording and eventually the Security Council agreed to issue a press statement omitting the strongest expressions.

The issuance of a press statement by the council requires consensus among all member states.

While the Security Council managed a collective response to the Myanmar situation, the message appears weak, avoiding direct criticism of the coup.

The statement also avoids using the word “coup,” and instead expresses concern over the declaration of the state of emergency by the military.

Monday’s coup, through which the military seized power in Myanmar, is seen as destroying the country’s democratic system.

The statement said the Security Council members “emphasized the need for the continued support of the democratic transition in Myanmar.”