EU Relaxes Sanctions But Urges Myanmar to do more
The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union (EU) adopted Council conclusions today suspending economic sanctions against Myanmar with the exception of the arms embargo.
In a statement released following the meeting, the Council of the EU welcomed the recent reforms in Myanmar and outlined how the EU will contribute to Myanmar’s economic, political and social development.
Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton following the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Luxembourg, 23 April 2012 revealed that:
Today we started our discussions with Burma/Myanmar and welcomed the truly remarkable changes we have seen in the country in recent months, including the by-elections, the release of some of the political prisoners and efforts that are being made for national reconciliation.
Against that backdrop, we took a decision to open a new chapter in our relations. To encourage further reforms, we've suspended our sanctions with the exception of the arms embargo. Of course reforms in that country need to continue - we need to see further progress, in particular the unconditional release of all political prisoners and efforts to end ethnic conflicts. As I understand, we have about 700 prisoners who have been released and somewhere between 200 and 600 still there.
We are ready to assist with these efforts as well as with economic and social development. We have 150 million euros, half of which is new money. Over the course of the next few months we'll see about 100 million euros available for health, for education, alleviation of poverty, support for civil society and so on.
We will continue to support the democratic transition, including through electoral assistance and we are encouraging trade and investment in the country. All these are the messages I will pass on to both the representatives of the government and the opposition, including meetings with President U Thein Sein and with Aung San Suu Kyi, when I visit Burma/Myanmar at the end of this week.
While there, I will also open the European Union office, which will help us to support
Burma/Myanmar on its path to full democracy.
- Asian Tribune -