New Zealand announced Tuesday, February 9, the suspension of its high-level military and political contacts with Burma, becoming the first country in the world to decide on the isolation of the junta in reaction to its coup. Introducing these measures, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on the international community to “strongly condemn what we are seeing unfolding in Burma”.
“After years of hard work to build democracy in Burma, I think every New Zealander must feel devastated to see what the military has done in recent days,” the Labor leader told reporters. “Our strong message is that we will do what we can from here in New Zealand,” she continued. “Following the military coup, New Zealand is suspending all high-level political and military contacts with Burma. Jacinda Ardern specifies that this will imply travel bans for senior Burmese military officials.
The Burmese junta ended a decade of civilian rule last week, arresting the de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as dozens of members of her party, the National League for Democracy ( LND).
The New Zealand Prime Minister added that her country wants the UN Human Rights Council to meet on Burma. She said, however, that New Zealand’s aid programs in Burma – which amount to around New Zealand $ 42 million (€ 25 million) – would be maintained provided they did not benefit members of the junta or do not come under their control.