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Change in Myanmar

EU likely to further eased sanctions on Myanmar : spokeswoman

Brussels - European Union sanctions on Myanmar are likely to be further eased, a spokeswoman hinted on Monday, following weekend by-elections in the country that featured a landslide victory for the opposition.



EU foreign ministers are set to review on April 23 the soon-to-expire travel bans and asset freezes that have been applied to the country.

"It’s for (them) to decide unanimously how they will address these issues, so to the extent of which these sanctions are eased and lifted," Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told reporters in Brussels.

"But we do expect that the foreign ministers will recognize the changes and there will be a positive signal coming from the council (of ministers)," she added.

At the same time, Kocijancic noted that the EU will be closely watching the next phases of the election and continues to expect progress on releasing political prisoners and on resolving ethnic tensions in the country.

"We will continue ... to support the ongoing reforms in Myanmar and look forward to developing a new and cooperative relationship as these go forward," she said. Hundreds of people and entities in Myanmar have been blacklisted by the EU since the army cracked down on demonstrations in 1988, killing an estimated 3,000 people.

The bloc partially lifted the sanctions last month following democratic progress in Myanmar, allowing 87 leading officials - including President Thein Sein - to once again travel to the EU.


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