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Myanmar needs help with reform, EU says

March 5, 2013 at 1:35 PM

BRUSSELS, March 5 (UPI) -- The European Union is encouraged by reforms by Myanmar's government but European Commission President Jose Barroso said more work is needed.

Barroso met Tuesday in Brussels with Myanmar President Thein Sein about reform efforts under way in the former military-controlled country.

Myanmar has been lauded by the international community for reforms that began with general elections in 2010. Barroso said he was encouraged to see Myanmar take steps in the right direction given outstanding global issues like the Syrian war and the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Barroso said Myanmar has to address the humanitarian crisis that's emerged from conflicts in Kachin and Rakhine states. Democratic reforms, he added, must be consolidated if elections set for 2015 are to be a success.

"Despite the impressive change that is underway the reforms and the transition (to democracy) are not completed," Barroso said in a statement.

Nevertheless, he said the European Union was providing more than $7 million in funding to help those displaced by fighting in Myanmar and another $195 million to help with democratic reforms.

"The European Union is very well aware that Myanmar will need support from the international community in facing these challenges," he said.

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