New Zealand will cut political and military ties with Myanmar after a coup which deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
New Zealand will end political and military contact with Myanmar after a military coup which deposed a democratically elected government.
Ardern, making the announcement after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, said all high-level political contact would be ended, and New Zealand’s aid programme should not be delivered in conjunction with, or benefit, the military.
A travel ban on Myanmar’s military leaders would be formalised later in the week. It appeared that while sanctions remain on the table, such a measure was not considered effective.
Myanmars military, the Tatmadaw, seized control of the country last week, just hours before the countrys second democratically elected parliament was due to convene. The Southeast Asian country had been on a path to democratisation in recent years, after decades of harsh rule by a military junta.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The first day of the House sitting in Parliament for 2021.
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Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace prize-winning leader of the country, was among National League for Democracy (NLD) politicians and democracy activists arrested in a raft of early morning raids. Since, there have been major peaceful protests in the country, Internet blackouts, and threats of a crackdown from the military.
Ardern said the Government’s response represented important, fundamental changes to the relationship between New Zealand and Myanmar, and were right up there among the strongest actions that could be taken.
“Every New Zealander would be devastated to see, after years of working so hard to build a democracy in Myanmar, to see what we’ve seen in recent days unfold led by the military. Our strong message is, we will do what we can from here in New Zealand.
Ardern said New Zealand would maintain its aid programme which mostly consists of agricultural, educational, and renewable energy spending as none was currently connected to the military.
“This will mean being very cautious about the way that we enter into aid programmes in Myanmar from henceforth.
Tin Zaw Moe, the organiser of a protest in Wellington against Myanmars military coup gets the crowd chanting outside of Parliament on Tuesday.
New Zealands ambassador, Steve Marshall, and his Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) staff were plucked out of the country as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. Despite cutting political ties, an ambassador may return.
“It’s not an insignificant aid programme in Myanmar, $42 million from 2018 through to 2021. And so you would just want to make sure that that was managed in an appropriate way by MFAT staff,” Ardern said.
While it might appear that New Zealand’s position on Myanmar was of little relevance, Ardern said, she recalled Suu Kyi speaking favourably of New Zealands representatives in the country.
Hours after a protest descended on Parliament, New Zealand announced it would cut off political ties to Myanmar.
They were well regarded and well respected, and I think had played a really constructive role with a critical time for Myanmar in their transition.
Ardern indicated that sanctions against Myanmar would have little effect. She said New Zealands trade with Myanmar was often food based, and therefore wouldnt likely be captured by sanctions against the company.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, earlier on Tuesday, said New Zealands response to the coup could involve sanctions.
“We’re working with allies in terms of next steps and actions, and we’re wanting to ensure that there is a strong community of interest to ensure that there is a strong transition to democracy.
“It possibly could [involve sanctions], and those are matters being discussed within each respective country, and as we come together [and discuss] what our next steps could be together.