By SAW YAN NAING
Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win has called in Cuba for an end to sanctions on developing countries. Some industrialized countries were taking advantage of the global financial crisis to exert political pressure on third world nations by imposing sanctions on them, he charged at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana.
Burma’s state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar reported on Nyan Win’s speech on Monday, saying he spoke last week to a ministerial meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the 119-member Non-Aligned Movement.
Nyan Win said unilateral sanctions offended international law and were counter-productive to the promotion of democracy and human rights in targeted countries. He defined democracy as “a universal value based on the will of the people to determine their own future.”
And he declared: “There is no single model of democracy.”
Sanctions have been imposed against Burma by the US and several developed countries, including Canada and member nations of the European Union. The sanctions are intended to pressure the Burmese regime to end its human rights abuses and move towards democracy.
Nyan Win made a similar appeal for an end to sanctions in a speech last year before the UN General Assembly. He also charged then that sanctions were against international law, as well as being unfair and immoral.
The Havana meeting was attended by more than 700 representatives from the 119 member countries. Forty observer states, 29 invited countries and six international organizations were also invited.
During his stay in Havana, Nyan Win met Cuba’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcos Rodriguez Costa, and the two exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations and mutual cooperation, the New Light of Myanmar reported.