Wallström meets Aung San Suu Kyi
Wallström meets Aung San Suu Kyi. Credit: REGERINGSKANSLIET/TT

Wallström condemns Burma violence, stops short of sanctions

5:02 min

Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström visited Rohingya in a Bangladeshi refugee camp. This morning, she met with Burmese de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Last week, Radio Sweden interviewed the head of the Swedish Rohingya Association, Abul Kalam, who explained he wanted Sweden to consider withdrawing aid to the country and threaten with sanctions against senior officials. 

After meeting with the Burmese leader, Wallström told Swedish Radio's Asia correspondent Margita Boström that Suu Kyi did not use the term "Rohingya", and that Wallström herself was the only one of the European and Asian foreign ministers to do so.

She added that Suu Kyi would not go into any details about the military's role in the mass violence witnessed in Rakhine state, adding she did not have full control of the military. Instead, Suu Kyi pointed to the need for "reconciliation". Wallström offered assistance from Sweden to help with those efforts.

Action matters. We need to make sure that they stop the violence – that has to be a direct order to the military.

Wallström did not, however, rule out future sanctions.

"Aung San Suu Kyi knows that the threat of sanctions hangs of Burma. But at this stage, we felt that since all of the Asian and European ministers were gathered, it was an opportunity to start a process ... and not start by talking about sanctions – that would have brought talks to a standstill," she told Swedish Radio.

Additionally, Amnesty International released a report this morning likening the situation in Burma to 'apartheid'. Brittis Edman, head of policy at Amnesty International Sweden, told Radio Sweden that the organisation was calling for a widened arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions against Burma.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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