EU suspends some Myanmar sanctions

April 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM
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LONDON, April 23 (UPI) -- It's right to suspend, not lift, sanctions against Myanmar because political gains made in the country aren't irreversible, the British prime minister said.

The Council of the European Union announced Monday it would suspend restrictive measures placed on the government in Myanmar, known also as Burma. The suspension doesn't include matters related to an arms embargo.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose government announced similar measures this year, said he welcomed the decision by the European Union.

"As I saw for myself, President Thein Sein has taken important steps toward reform in Burma, and it is right for the world to respond to them," Cameron said in a statement. "But those changes are not yet irreversible, which is why it is right to suspend rather than lift sanctions for good."

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from a lengthy house arrest in 2010. Now a member of Parliament, she refused to take her seat during a Monday session because of opposition to a constitution created by the military, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports.

Myanmar's president said his country's wasn't going to lose sight of democratic rule, however.

"The council will monitor closely the situation on the ground, keep its measures under constant review and respond positively to progress on ongoing reforms," said the European political body in a statement.

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