Sydney/Bangkok, Jul 5 (EFE).- New Zealand will boycott an upcoming counter-terrorism meeting co-chaired by the Myanmar and Russia, according to reports.
The meeting will be held on July 20 and 21 in Moscow, and attended by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their partners as part of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) counter-terrorism working group.
The New Zealand defense ministry’s deputy secretary for policy and planning, Michael Swain, told Myanmar Now and New Zealand outlet Newsroom, which respectively published Monday and Tuesday, that Wellington will “not be attending nor participating on this occasion.”
“We concluded that the benefits of attending to convey New Zealand’s views are outweighed by the risks of being portrayed by Russia and Myanmar as supporting their approach,” he added.
The ADMM-Plus group includes the 10 ASEAN member states and partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
Australia decided last month not to attend the meeting.
New Zealand and Australia have strongly criticized both the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February and the military coup in Myanmar in 2021.
The government of the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly condemned the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has imposed a series of sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, among other measures, in line with their Western partners.
The most recent was the prohibition of Russian gold imports, according to a statement published Monday.
The Ardern administration, which has provided non-lethal military and humanitarian aid to Kyiv, also supports Ukraine at the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court investigations.
Wellington has also taken steps against Myanmar since the military coup in February 2021, including suspending high-level bilateral relations and military engagements.
It has also imposed a series of travel bans on individuals associated with the military uprising that plunged the country into a deep political, social and economic crisis.
The coup started a spiral of violence, prompting the forming of new civilian militias that have exacerbated decades of guerrilla warfare, while the violent repression of the armed forces has killed more than 2,000 civilians. EFE