Norway and Denmark Break Burma Boycott

Breaking a European Union boycott of the military-regime in Burma, two European ministers last month paid a semi-official visit to the country.
The Danish minister of Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs and the Norwegian minister of development and Environment Erik Solheim entered the military ruled country on 21st of January as the highest ranking Europeans to visit the military-ruled country in more than two decades.
Burma is subjected to the boycott because of the country’s reported violation of the human rights – including the use of torture, a wide degree censorship of the press and of course the longstanding house arrest of the leader of the National League for Democracy and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Ang San Suu Kyi.
The two ministers held a meeting with the Myanmar Red Cross Society, led by its president Prof Thar la Shwe. The state owned newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, reported the meeting on January 22 but provided no further information about the content of the meeting. Furthermore, the ministers were also flown by UN-helicopters to the disaster-areas in the delta-region, where they inspected the reconstruction work in four villages, which was devastated by Cyclone Nargis during their two-days visit in the country.
In a UN news release, Norwegian minister Erik Solheim is qouted, “The humanitarian relief and early recovery efforts after Cyclone Nargis have been more successful than expected. Many schools and homes have been rebuilt but still there are areas with great need for support. What is important is the continued and increased access for humanitarian workers.”
In the ministers respective countries several opinion formers have criticised the minister’s violation of the decision of the European Union, because it can be seen as recognition of the legality of the Burmese regime.

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