- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 3, 2021

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Myanmar’s deputy U.N. ambassador, who was assigned by the military to head the country’s mission to the United Nations after the ambassador strongly opposed their recent coup, resigned on Wednesday, according to social media and newspaper reports.

Tin Maung Naing was named by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the mission’s charge d’affaires in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received Tuesday. It said Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun had been terminated.

Tun sent letters Monday to the General Assembly president and Guterres saying he represents the country’s “legitimate” government and remains Myanmar’s ambassador.

Deputy Ambassador Naing posted on Facebook Wednesday that he was resigning, without giving a reason, according to The Irrawaddy newspaper in a report from Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, and a Twitter post from anti-coup activists that included his Burmese language Facebook announcement.

According to an unofficial translation of the announcement, Naing said he was a dedicated civil servant serving the country he loves for 30 years but due to unavoidable circumstances he was resigning.

The country’s U.N. mission did not respond to numerous calls seeking comment on the Facebook post, which was readable only by people marked as friends. Anti-coup activists on Twitter welcomed Naing’s statement.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday he had seen reports of Naing’s resignation, and said that the two contradictory letters from Ambassador Tun and the Foreign Ministry had been sent to the General Assembly’s Credentials Committee.

In a dramatic speech to a General Assembly meeting on Myanmar on Friday, Tun appealed for “the strongest possible action from the international community” to restore democracy to the country.

He urged all countries to strongly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, to refuse to recognize the military regime, and to ask the military leaders to respect the November elections won by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

The Irrawaddy said that after Tun condemned the military, the Foreign Ministry “recalled at least 100 diplomatic staff from around 19 countries.”

The paper said the Committee Representing Pyidaungu Hluttaw (National Assembly), comprising elected lawmakers from Suu Kyi’s NLD party, told the U.N. to recognize Tun as representing the elected government.

The committee also said Tun “had been given additional duties to manage foreign and diplomatic affairs for the NLD government, in effect appointing him foreign minister in exile,” The Irrawaddy said.

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