While reading up on synthetic trees in the library, Orak overheard a conversation that made him curious. So, he rushed to the Mystical dorm room and asked, “Verum, why didn’t the representatives from Afghanistan and Myanmar give speeches at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting?”

“What is the United Nations General Assembly?” said Felix, looking up from his drawing.

“The United Nations (UN) is an organization of 193 nations who have come together to achieve the aim of world peace. Within the UN, the General Assembly is one of the six main parts,” explained Verum, “Member countries can discuss, debate, and vote on international affairs during annual meetings.”

“Thank you, Verum,” said Felix.

“Now onto Orak’s question,” continued Verum, “In 2021, the UNGA had their first in-person meeting since the pandemic began. About 100 world leaders gathered in New York, United States (US). The meeting was due to end on Monday with speeches by the representatives from Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Guinea.”

“What happened then?” said Orak.

“Afghanistan and Myanmar won’t be giving a speech at the UNGA meeting. Two different governments of these countries are saying the UN seats belong to them,” said Verum, “Let me explain.”

“As you know, the group with extreme views, the Taliban, took over Afghanistan in August. As the country’s then-President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Taliban formed their own government,” explained Verum, “Now, the current UN ambassador is Ghulam Isaczai who represents President Ghani’s government that was removed by the Taliban.”

“So, the Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi asked to give a speech during this session,” added Verum, “For this, he nominated Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s spokesperson based in Doha, Qatar. Meanwhile, Isaczai asked to keep his UN seat.”

“And what about Myanmar?” said Orak.

“It’s a similar situation in Myanmar,” replied Verum, “In February, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was overthrown by the military. Kyaw Moe Tun was the UN representative of Suu Kyi’s government. But the military government put forward experienced former military leader Aung Thurein.”

“So, until a UN committee takes this decision, Isaczai and Kyaw Moe Tun will remain the representatives of their countries,” said Verum, “But while Isaczai withdrew his name from the list of speakers, China, Russia, and the US reached an agreement. Kyaw Moe Tun can remain in his seat so long as he doesn’t give a speech.”