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Europe suspends Myanmar sanctions

Ban on arms stays but others lifted, country on probation

Mike MacLachlan, London
United Kingdom

April 24, 2012

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The EU yesterday suspended sanctions against Myanmar for one year, with the exception of an arms export ban. The decision, taken at a foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg, will take effect later this week. “The European Union has followed with respect and appreciation the historic changes in Myanmar over the past year and encourages the wide-ranging reforms to continue,” the EU said in a statement. It would continue to monitor the situation in the country closely, it said, and constantly review its measures. The British prime minister, David Cameron, who had suggested that sanctions should be “eased” when he visited Myanmar earlier this month, welcomed the decision. “As I saw for myself, President Thein Sein has taken important steps towards reform and it is right for the world to respond to them,” he said in a statement. “But those changes are not yet irreversible, which is why it is right to suspend rather than lift sanctions for good.” The Italian foreign minister, Giulio Terzi, said he had “every confidence” in the transition in Myanmar. He was speaking in Jakarta, on his way to Myanmar, where he will meet the president and the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
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