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Myanmar condemns UN move to deny envoy a seat

Myanmar’s junta on Thursday slammed a UN decision to deny its chosen representative a seat at the world body and keep in place an envoy appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted government.

The committee responsible for approving nominations of ambassadors to the New York body met Wednesday but deferred a decision over the rival claims to Myanmar and Afghanistan's seats, diplomats said.

The deferral keeps in place envoys appointed to the body by both governments before they were toppled — by a coup in Myanmar in February and the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan in August.

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‟This decision does not reflect the reality on the ground and existence of our country,” Myanmar junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

‟We will continue submitting (to the UN) as usual according to diplomatic procedure and the right to representation in accordance with international and local laws,” he added.

The deferral leaves Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by Suu Kyi's government, in place as Myanmar’s envoy.

He made headlines shortly after the putsch by flashing the three-finger salute of democracy protesters from his UN chair, brazenly defying the junta's insistence that he no longer represents the country.

In August US prosecutors said they had charged two Myanmar citizens in a plot to attack him.

The junta has denied any involvement and chosen former soldier Aung Thurein as its envoy to the body.

The Taliban in September asked the UN to accept its former Doha-based spokesperson Suhail Shaheen to succeed Ghulam Isaczai, a cabinet member of ousted President Ashraf Ghani.

Isaczai continues to occupy Afghanistan's offices at the UN headquarters and even participated in a recent Security Council meeting in which he openly criticized the Taliban.

There was "consensus" within the credentials committee to delay the decision, two diplomats told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"China, Russia and the United States were in the same position," one of them said.

The nine-member committee is due to submit its report next week to the General Assembly, which will be left to decide via a possible vote if its 200 members fail to reach a consensus, diplomats said.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy government, sparking huge democracy protests which have triggered a bloody crackdown from the junta.

NLD lawmakers make up the majority of a shadow "National Unity Government" which is working to overturn the military regime, which the junta has branded "terrorists".

Suu Kyi has been detained since the coup, and faces a catalogue of charges that could see her jailed for decades.

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North Korea defends close ties with Russia against South Korean criticism at UN


North Korea on Monday slammed South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for criticising its cooperation with Moscow following leader Kim Jong Un’s Russia visit, saying it is “natural” and “normal” for neighbors to keep close relations.

Yoon, speaking at the UN General Assembly last week, said that if Russia helped North Korea enhance its weapons programs in return for assistance for its war in Ukraine, it would be “a direct provocation.”

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In a piece carried by KCNA news agency, the North denounced Yoon for “malignantly” slandering its friendly cooperation with Russia, and said Yoon was serving as a “loudspeaker” for the United States.

“It is quite natural and normal for neighboring countries to keep close relations with each other, and there is no reason to call such practice to account,” it said.

Kim returned home last week from a week-long trip to Russia in which he and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to boost military and economic cooperation.

US and South Korean officials have expressed concern that Russia could be trying to acquire ammunition from the North to supplement its dwindling stocks for the war in Ukraine while Pyongyang seeks technological help for its nuclear and missile programs.

Any activities assisting North Korea’s weapons programs are banned under UN Security Council resolutions.

“The foreign policy of the DPRK … will not be tied to anything, and its friendly and cooperative relations with the close neighbors will continue to grow stronger,” the commentary said. DPRK is the initials of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Niger military leaders welcome news of French army withdrawal


Niger’s military rulers on Sunday welcomed the announcement that France will pull its troops out of the country by the end of the year as “a new step towards sovereignty.”

The statement came hours after French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Paris would soon withdraw its ambassador from Niger, followed by its military contingent in the coming months.

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“This Sunday, we celebrate a new step towards the sovereignty of Niger,” said a statement from the country’s military rulers, who seized power in late July by overthrowing President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

“The French troops and the ambassador of France will leave Nigerien soil by the end of the year.”

The statement, read out on national television, added: “This is a historic moment, which speaks to the determination and will of the Nigerien people.”

Earlier Sunday, before Macron’s announcement, the body regulating aviation safety in Africa (ASECNA), announced that Niger’s military rulers had banned “French aircraft” from flying over the country’s airspace.

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Russian air defense thwarts drone attack near Moscow’s Tula region


Russia’s air defense systems were engaged in repelling a drone attack over the Tula region that borders Moscow’s region to its north, Russia’s RIA news agency reported early Monday.

Citing the ministry of regional security, the agency reported that according to preliminary information, there was no damage or injuries as a result of the attack.

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Two of Moscow’s major airports, however, the Vnukovo and Domedovo, limited air traffic, directing flights to other airports, the TASS state news agency reported.

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