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EU's Barroso calls for sectarian peace in Myanmar

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called for an end to sectarian killings in Myanmar's western Rakhine state. In Yangon, Barroso held talks with reformist leaders and promised EU development aid.

Barroso urged religious leaders in Myanmar, formerly called Burma, to call for restraint. Since June, clashes between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have claimed scores of lives and left more than 100,000 people displaced.

"We are deeply concerned by these events and by the consequences for the reforms and democratization of the country," Barroso said, according to a commission statement released in Brussels.

EU offers aid

"The EU stands ready to mobilize 4 million euros ($5.1 million) for immediate humanitarian needs, provided access to the affected areas is guaranteed," Barroso added.

José Manuel Durao Barroso, Portugal, EU-Kommissionspräsident, aufgenommen 09/02/09, Quelle: Fotodatenbank der EU-Kommission.

Barroso seeks peace in Myanmar

Barroso held talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein, who took charge last year and initiated reforms.

Myanmar's emergence from decades of military rule recently prompted the EU and United States to ease sanctions.

Barroso, who is the latest in a string of Western officials to visit Myanmar, was speaking at a newly established center in Yangon designed to promote dialogue between all parties in Myanmar's peace process.

The EU has contributed 700,000 euros to start up the center. The commission's statement said in 2013 the EU would contribute 30 million euros to Myanmar's peace process.

Barroso's trip to southeast Asia will also include the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Vientiane, Laos.

ipj/ch (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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