EU to suspend sanctions on Myanmar | News | DW | 19.04.2012
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EU to suspend sanctions on Myanmar

According to EU officials speaking on the condition of anonymity, sanctions that have been in place for 16 years against Myanmar are to be suspended for one year.

At a meeting of European Union foreign ministers scheduled for Monday, sanctions that have been in place against Myanmar since 1996 are to be suspended, according to unnamed officials speaking Thursday on the condition of anonymity.

Originally implemented against Myanmar's military junta in response to human rights abuses, the 16-year-old sanctions include an asset freeze on hundreds of individuals, a ban on EU companies and organizations from investing in Myanmar, an import ban, and an arms embargo.

All but the arms embargo are to be suspended for one year with the formal announcement expected at next week's meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Myanmar, long known as a dictatorship, has shown signs of a democratic transition over the past year.

The sanctions are not being lifted entirely in order to maintain pressure on Myanmar's government to maintain its transition to democracy.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who recently travelled to Myanmar and met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said it was important to exercise caution.

"While it is clear that the ... regime is making some steps towards greater freedom and democracy, we should be extremely cautious and extremely careful," he said Wednesday in a speech to parliament.

On Tuesday, the United States eased restrictions against Myanmar that were in place on financial transactions to support certain humanitarian and development projects.

mz/ (AFP, AP, Reuters)