EU extends sanctions on Myanmar

April 27th, 2009 - 7:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Luxembourg, April 27 (IANS) The European Union (EU) Monday extended sanctions against Myanmar by one year and repeated calls for the release of political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The EU sanctions - in place since 2006 - against Myanmar include a travel ban on top officials, an arms embargo and a freeze of the country’s assets in Europe, EuAsiaNews reported.

The sanctions also limit diplomatic relations between the Southeast Asian nation and the European bloc.

The foreign ministers of the 27 member-bloc noted in a statement that the authorities of Myanmar “have still to take the steps necessary to make the planned 2010 elections a credible, transparent and inclusive process, based on international standards”.

The EU underlined its readiness to revise, amend or reinforce the measures it has already adopted in light of developments on the ground.

“The EU remains open to dialogue with the authorities of Myanmar and is willing to meet them at ministerial level in the margins of the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hanoi in May 2009,” said the statement.

The ministers urged the military government of Myanmar to engage more with the international community and to work towards a peaceful transition to democracy.

The statement added that the EU would continue to promote the action of “the Group of Friends of the UN Secretary General” and step up its dialogue on this issue, and on its implications for regional stability, with key actors, including ASEAN and its Member States, the US, China, India and Japan.

The EU had extended the sanctions for a year in 2007 following the crackdown on Buddhist protests.

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