Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende used his speech to the general meeting of the UN on Thursday to call for sanctions against Burma, where at least nine protestors have been shot dead.
‘In Burma, the military are shooting at monks and civilians, who are demonstrating peacefully. We strongly condemn this brutal use of force, Balkenende said. ‘Together with the European Union and the United States, we call on the Security Council to discuss the situation urgently and to consider further steps including sanctions.’
In parliament, MPs called for a boycott of petrol stations run by the French oil company Total, which is a major foreign investor in Burma and does business with the military regime.
MPs from across the political spectrum called for sanctions against Burma, particularly in a Europe-wide initiative. The right-wing Liberals called for the government to put diplomatic pressure on China, which arms the Burmese military, NOS reported.
Junior foreign minister Frans Timmermans told NOS that the Netherlands was one of the European countries ‘prepared to go the furthest’. ‘But we have to be careful that it is not ordinary citizens who are affected’ and that members of the military government go unharmed, he said.
Meanwhile, travellers heading to Burma are no longer covered for ‘calamities’ if they visit the country between now and the end of October, the travel agents’ insurance trust said on Friday.
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