Scandinavian Burma-Dialog Praised by ASEAN

The controversial visit to Burma by the ministers of development from Denmark and Norway, Ulla Tørnæs and Erik Solheim, is supported by the secretary general of ASEAN Dr. Surin Pitsuwan.
“Their statement is a refreshing change in the debate, and I think the Scandinavian ministers have the right attitude”, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan stated in a interview with Scandmedia before the summit of the ASEAN countries in Thailand this weekend.
“Involvement is much better than isolation, so I’m glad that somebody breaks this policy of the western countries” he says.
Since 1988 the western countries has unofficially been boycotting the military regime in Burma, but it was broken by the two ministers, when they visited the country in January. This move has led to massive international criticism from politicians and NGOs.
Burma’s isolation became an international problem when the country was hit by the cyclone Nargis in May last year with an estimated 100.000 people killed. In the beginning the authorities of Burma did not allow international helping organisations in the country, but because of massive pressure from ASEAN and others the military junta of Burma finally agreed on open the borders for foreign aid.
Dr Surin Pituwan stated that the summit will discuss the problem with the increasing number of refuges from Burma, who comes to the coasts of Thailand, Indonesia and Thailand by boat.

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