Members of Parliament in New Zealand today decided to form a parliamentary caucus on Burma to exert pressure on the military junta for a peaceful transition to democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.

During a meeting with Burmese activists in New Zealand on Tuesday, Hon Chris Carter, MP of the Conservative Party and Minister of Housing said they would work in the parliament to form a caucus on Burma.

Naing Ko Ko, an activist living in New Zealand said, they held the meeting to seek the support of the New Zealand government by inviting members of Parliament, where the activists placed three requests.

The MP’s complied to their request – to send an envoy to Burma bordering areas, to form a parliamentary caucus, and to pass a bill in Parliament to support Burmese democracy movement, said Naing Ko Ko.

“The MP told us that he will follow it up with a discussion at the parliament,” Htike Htike, another Burmese activist attending the meeting, told mizzima.

New Zealand, maintaining its stance on the Burmese junta, has never allowed the junta to send a diplomatic mission to the country.

Earlier, New Zealand, a dialogue partner of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), refused talks with the grouping as a protest against the Burmese junta, which is a member of group.

Meanwhile, Parliamentarians from the Southeast Asian nations have called for greater international sanctions including an arms embargo.

In a press statement released today, the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) said, “a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on an arms embargo will serve to protect civilians in conflict-stricken country [Burma].”

The group also urged the ASEAN governments to support a UNSC resolution that will call for an arms embargo to military-ruled Burma.

“Myanmar [Burma] military junta has shown, on numerous occasions during its reign, that it does not use its weapons for defence of the country but to suppress its own people and in recent times against foreigners, including a Japanese photo journalist,” AIPMC said.