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FILE PHOTO: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will publicly brief the Security Council on Thursday on violence in Myanmar, which he has described as ethnic cleansing, after seven countries on the 15-member body requested the meeting.

Sweden, the United States, Britain, France, Egypt, Senegal, and Kazakhstan requested the meeting.

In preparation for Thursday's public meeting, the council will be briefed behind closed doors on Tuesday by U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, diplomats said.

Some 436,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a military crackdown.

U.S. President Donald Trump wants the U.N. Security Council to take "strong and swift action" to end the violence, Vice President Mike Pence said last Wednesday.

The council has already met twice behind closed doors since the Rohingya crisis began and earlier this month issued an informal statement to the press condemning the situation and urging Myanmar authorities to end the violence.

Diplomats say the Security Council could consider adopting a formal statement if the situation does not improve, but China and Russia are unlikely to agree to stronger action that would require the adoption of a resolution they could veto.

A Security Council resolution would need nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France.

Myanmar said earlier this month it was negotiating with veto powers China and Russia to ensure Myanmar would be protected from any Security Council action.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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