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Last Updated:[27-04-2009 07:03:42 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

The EU Foreign Ministers Meet Will Decide the Extension of Myanmar Sanctions

tradenews At a meeting at Luxembourg today, the foreign ministers of the EU will review whether the three year old sanctions imposed on Myanmar (Burma) to be extended or not. Though there are other key issues to be discussed including the political crisis in Moldova, ties with Russia and the Croatia’s EU integration, Myanmar seemed to hog the primary focus as the sanctions are bound to expire by the end of this month.

A draft of the declaration by the EU stated the bloc was likely to extend sanctions for another 12 months that includes a travel ban on top political officials, an arms embargo and a freeze on Myanmar assets in Europe. The EU has been demanding the release of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi who is in house arrest and all other 2000-odd political prisoners. The EU also wants the Myanmar administration to take immediate steps to ensure the planned general elections in next year to be free and fair with strict adherence to international democratic standards, and in the presence of neutral observers.

Nevertheless, the EU has indicated that it was ready to respond to any genuine progress and may wait until the next month’s talks with the Myanmar rulers before extending the dates of sanctions for another one year. The EU and the US officials have acknowledged the fact the sanctions had no or little effect so far, and have no hopes that things would change in a month’s time.

The sanctions are clamped after the Burmese military rulers blatantly violated human right norms to suppress the pro-democratic movement in 2006. The country is under military rule since 1962, and the current junta came to power in 1988 after devastating a similar pro-democratic uprising.

The EU draft has raised serious concerns over the plight of the ethnic minorities of Myanmar who have no rights even for citizenship of their own country. Many human rights organizations are understood to have flayed the junta for marginalizing especially close to a million Muslim Rohingya minorities with forced labour, land seizures and rape.

By Jose Roy

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