More praise heaped on Myanmar

Feb. 13, 2012 at 12:09 PM
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NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Myanmar would be considered a political success story if it maintains the current pace of democratic reforms, a European official said during a visit.

Andris Piebalgs, development commissioner for the European Union, met with Myanmar's leaders during his visit to the country.

Myanmar has earned praise from Western governments following a series of reforms that began with 2010 general elections, the first in decades. The government has since released scores of prisoners of conscience, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is running in upcoming by-elections.

Piebalgs, who arrived with a pledge of around $200 million in aid, said Myanmar is becoming a political success story.

"Studying carefully the context, this is clearly a great likelihood, especially if the current pace of reform continues," he said.

Some of the prisoners of conscious released this year said political reforms were window dressing. Nevertheless, Irina Bokova, director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said Myanmar had broad support.

"UNESCO welcomes the government of Myanmar's comprehensive program of democratization and reform and we are determined to accompany this process in our fields of competence," Bokova said in a statement.

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