African Press International (API)

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Norway condemns military violence in Burma

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2007

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has been in New York this week, to speak at the UN, but is following developments in Burma closely.

PHOTO: KRISTINE NYBORG / SCANPIX
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was among those imploring Burma’s military leaders to refrain from more violence and to engage in dialogue with the democratic forces in Burma. The Norwegian Nobel Committee also condemned the military reaction to peaceful demonstrations.

Both Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stre condemn the use of violence by Burma’s military leaders.

PHOTO: Kristine Nyborg / SCANPIX


The chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjs, also urged Burma’s leaders to stop attacking and start talking with peaceful demonstrators.

PHOTO: BJRN SIGURDSN/SCANPIX

“The use of force is the last thing Burma needs right now,” Stoltenberg said. “That’s a message we’re sending very clearly from the Norwegian government.”

Norwegians have maintained a strong interest in Burma for years. The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991 raised her to heroine status in Norway.

The head of today’s committee, which will announce the winner of the next Nobel Peace Prize in just two weeks, has expressed deep concern for Aung San Suu Kyi’s safety as events unfold in Burma. Her whereabouts remained unclear on Thursday morning, with some claiming she’d been transferred from house arrest to a prison, while an unidentified foreign diplomat said she remained at her home.

Ole Danbolt Mjs, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, made a strong plea on national television Wednesday evening for the military junta to immediately halt its attacks on peaceful demonstrators and start talking with them instead.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg also urged the international community “to take responsibility” for the development of democracy in Burma. “It’s important that the world makes that clear,” said Stoltenberg, who’s been in New York this week to attend sessions at the United Nations and help lead talks on climate change.

“We believe that the countries in the immediate area have a special responsibility,” Stoltenberg said. “That applies, not least, to China.”

China, which has supported the military regime in Burma in the past, is now under pressure as next year’s host of the Olympic Games to use its influence on the junta. It now has urged the Burmese military leaders to show “restraint.”

Stoltenberg noted that Norwegian authorities have encouraged Norwegian companies to avoid investing in Burma. That’s had only mixed results, with companies like shipping firm Wilh Wilhelmsen continuing to do business in the country.

By Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN source.aftenposteneng.ntb

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