European Union eases sanctions on Myanmar

April 22, 2013 at 1:09 PM

LUXEMBOURG, April 22 (UPI) -- Myanmar shouldn't be held accountable to external influences when charting a path of political reform, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said.

The European Union, citing political reforms that began with general elections in 2010, opted Monday.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former prisoner and now parliamentarian, told the BBC that lifting sanctions was a welcome affirmation of reform efforts.

"It is time we let these sanctions go," she said. "I don't want to rely on external factors forever to bring about national reconciliation which is the key to progress in our country."

Myanmar President Thein Sein shepherded the reforms. He is to receive recognition for his democratic stewardship from the International Crisis Group.

The EU decision follows a scathing report from Human Rights Watch, alleging the government was complicit in Buddhist attacks on the minority Muslim community. The BBC broadcast video Monday showing what appears to be a lax security response to the violence.

Rights groups last week said the European Union should hold off on easing sanctions to pressure Myanmar to take comprehensive reforms seriously.

Religious violence in Myanmar since 2012 left nearly 200 people dead and displaced an estimated 127,000 people.

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