February 18, 2012
BRUSSELS (Kyodo) — The European Union on Friday suspended admission restrictions on 87 high-ranking government officials of Myanmar, including President Thein Sein, in response to developments in political reform in the Southeast Asian country.
“We have seen historic changes in Burma/Myanmar and we strongly encourage the authorities to continue this process,” Catherine Ashton, high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a statement.
The EU is reviewing all restrictive measures on Myanmar, due to expire on April 30.
Ashton said she will visit Myanmar shortly after the parliamentary by-elections slated for April 1. By then “I hope we will have had the chance to complete the review and to have made decisions at an EU level to respond to what I hope will be continued progress,” she said.
In January, the EU decided at its Foreign Affairs Council meeting that it will continue to ease its restrictive measures on Myanmar.
The admission restrictions affect the president, the vice presidents, cabinet members and the speakers of the two houses of parliament and their family members, the EU said.
The EU has slapped economic sanctions against Myanmar since the 1990s. Attention will shift to what the EU would do concerning its arms embargo and freeze on assets of key government officials and government-affiliated enterprises, in response to developments in Myanmar.
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