Sun 30 Sep 2007
Filed under: Business / Trade,News
The head of a leading German business organization said Sunday that calls in the West for sanctions against Myanmar was the wrong approach.
Juergen Hambrecht, chief of German industry’s Asia-Pacific Committee, told the business daily Handelsblatt that he did not believe restrictions by the EU and US would prod the country’s military rulers to change course.
“We’ll be doing the wrong thing if we cut back our support,” Hambrecht said in an interview released in advance of publication on Monday.
Hambrecht, board chairman of chemical concern BASF, also criticized calls for the overthrow of government in the country formerly known as Burma.
Experience in Iraq has shown how important it is to know exactly what will happen if the military junta is deposed, he said. “Is the country in a position to manage a power vacuum?” he asked.
The business leader also hit out at critics of China’s apparent unwillingness to pressure the generals to stop their crackdown on protesters calling for more democracy.
China had its own interests in the region and was keen to to see Myanmar prosper economically and not become embroiled in a wider conflict, Hambrecht said.
Some 150 people demonstrated outside the Chinese embassy in Berlin on Saturday in a show of solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar.
The demonstrators also appealed to Beijing to persuade the junta to listen to the people’s demands and stop blocking a condemnation of the military’s actions by the UN Security Council.
On Wednesday, the German government summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to the Foreign Ministry to express its concern about what was happening in the country.
Government spokesman Thomas Steg described the events in Yangon and other centres as “shocking and cause for great concern.”