UN appoints Myanmar special envoy tasked with ‘virtually impossible’ mission 

While some, including the National Unity Government, welcome the new appointment of a former Australian foreign minister to the role, others question the mandate

UN Secretary General António Gutteres appointed former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop as Special Envoy on Myanmar last week, after the position was left vacant for nearly a year.

The foreign affairs ministry of Myanmar’s publicly mandated National Unity Government (NUG) welcomed Bishop’s April 5 appointment in a statement on Tuesday, pledging to “closely collaborate” with the special envoy “in our endeavour to establish a federal democratic union founded on democratic principles.”

Tun Aung Shwe, the NUG’s representative to Australia, said he thought Bishop could “make a difference,” pointing to her diplomatic achievements in encouraging the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to provide cross-border humanitarian assistance in Syria without the consent of the Assad regime, likening this situation to Myanmar. 

Bishop’s predecessor in the role, Singaporean diplomat and social scientist Noeleen Heyzer, experienced major . . .

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