The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on April 11 said that it was “no surprise” that Russia and China were blocking efforts at the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo as the international efforts to halt the violence in Myanmar is yet to yield results. In a blog post, Borrell noted that more than 80 people were killed in Bago last Friday and said that the world is horrified by the “bloody military coup” in Myanmar. He further said that a “robust diplomatic initiative” is being pursued in close coordination with like-minded partners.
“However, geopolitical competition in Myanmar makes it difficult to find common ground, to halt the violence and ensure a return to democracy," Borell said.
The latest military crackdown in #Myanmar shows the urgency to act. While we are pursuing sanctions and robust diplomacy, geopolitical competition is clearly hindering efforts to restore democracy. Read my blog post on what the EU can do with its partners: https://t.co/gDr4NpwJ96 pic.twitter.com/kSpthSDwjU— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) April 11, 2021
The foreign policy chief stated that even in the face of “such brutality”, geopolitics divides the international community and hampers a coordinated response. He noted that Myanmar’s location makes it a strategic point for China’s Belt and Road initiative, but also India’s own corridor to the South China sea. He said that other countries like Japan, South Korea and Singapore also have strong economic interests in Myanmar and Russia is the country’s second supplier of weapons, after China.
“Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Russia and China are blocking the attempts of the UN Security Council, for example, to impose an arms embargo. China is keen to protect its strategic interests in the country and has called the coup 'a major government reshuffle', while Russia insists that it is a purely 'domestic matter'," Borell said.
Borell then went to say that the situation in the country is complicated by Myanmar’s highly diverse and complex ethnic fabric. He noted that there are 135 recognised ethnicities within its borders and some like the Rohingya, are not even recognised. He stated that the conflict between ethnic minorities and the central government has been going on since independence.
The EU chief then went on to call the bloc to play an active role adding that the bloc “cannot accept” that a democratically-elected government is overthrown and replaced by military rule. He even said that sanctions in themselves are not a policy. Borell called for a need to create a shared diplomatic platform to kick-start a process of dialogue aimed at restoring democracy in Myanmar, in accordance with the clear will of its brave people.