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Clash over Myanmar representation at U.N. averted for now

Michelle Nichols
·2-min read

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - A clash over who represents Myanmar at the United Nations in New York after a Feb. 1 military coup was averted - for now - after the junta's replacement quit and the Myanmar U.N. mission confirmed that Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun remained in the job.

Kyaw Moe Tun was fired by the junta on Saturday, a day after he urged countries at the 193-member U.N. General Assembly to use "any means necessary" to reverse the coup that ousted the nation's elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Sunday, the Myanmar U.N. mission said Kyaw Moe Tun's deputy, Tin Maung Naing, would become the acting U.N. envoy. On Monday, Kyaw Moe Tun formally staked his claim to remain the country's legitimate representative - a job he has held since October - in a letter to the United Nations.

The rival claims raised the prospect of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly having to address the issue.

On Wednesday, the Myanmar U.N. mission told the United Nations on Wednesday that Tin Maung Naing had resigned and Kyaw Moe Tun remained the country's ambassador. It said the note it sent on Sunday "shall be ignored."

Myanmar's representation at the United Nations could become an issue again if the junta tries to appoint a new ambassador.

Police in Myanmar broke up demonstrations in several places with tear gas and gunfire on Thursday as protesters took to the streets again, undeterred by the rising death toll in a crackdown on coup opponents.

The U.N. Security Council is due to discuss Myanmar on Friday in a closed meeting, diplomats said. The 15-member council has voiced concern over the state of emergency, but stopped short of condemning the coup last month due to opposition from Russia and China.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Howard Goller)