New Zealand is suspending all high-level contact with Myanmar and imposing a travel ban on its military leaders following last week’s coup.
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today told a news conference Wellington would deliver a “strong message” by ensuring its aid program would not include projects that would be of any benefit to Myanmar’s military government.
“One of the things we will do is suspend that high-level dialogue … and make sure any funding we put into Myanmar does not in any way support the military regime,” Ms Ardern said.
In a separate statement, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand did not recognise the legitimacy of the military-led government.
She called on the military to immediately release all detained political leaders and restore civilian rule.
Ms Mahuta said the New Zealand Government had also agreed to implement a travel ban on Myanmar’s military leaders, which would be formalised in the coming week.
Calls on Australia to impose new sanctions
Australia warned Myanmar’s military against staging a coup when tensions were escalating last month.
However, Canberra has stopped short of imposing new targeted sanctions on Myanmar’s top generals.
But there are now calls from human rights groups for it to take action.
Myanmar’s Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has vowed to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.
But is has failed to dampen protests against the coup, with people defying bans on large gatherings to extend the largest demonstrations in more than a decade.
The February 1 coup and detention of elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has prompted four straight days of protests across the South-East Asian country of 53 million and a growing civil disobedience movement affecting hospitals, schools and government offices.
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