New Zealand is cutting all political and military ties with Myanmar following a military coup and political unrest.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the measures in her weekly media conference that followed Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
It comes after Myanmar’s military took control of the country just hours before the recently democratically elected parliament was due to meet last week.
Ardern says every New Zealander would be devastated to see what has unfolded after years of “working so hard to build a democracy in Myanmar’’.
The Government has announced measures, including making sure no aid money filters its way through to the military regime.
Between 2018 and this year New Zealand has contributed $42 million to the Southeast Asian country.
While there are currently no seconded Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff in Myanmar – they were pulled out when Covid-19 took hold – there will be discussions at a later point over whether they’ll return.
Both Ardern and deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson stressed there were “rigorous’’ checks in place to make sure any aid money that continues to go there is used for the right purposes.
In the past aid projects have included educational, agricultural and union movement work.
There are also MFAT staff based in Thailand, who have previously been used in difficult circumstances, who could keep a check on the ground in Myanmar, Ardern said.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand doesn’t recognise the “legitimacy of the military-led government’’ and called on the military to immediately release detained political leaders and restore “civilian rule’’.
“The Government has also agreed to implement a travel ban, to be formalised in the coming week, on Myanmar’s military leaders.
“In addition, New Zealand has joined other countries calling for a special session at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Myanmar to raise our concerns regarding the military coup and the impact on human rights,’’ Mahuta said.
“Along with our partners in the international community, New Zealand is closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar. We welcome the statements of the G7 and the United Nations Security Council condemning the military’s seizure of power.”