The European Union is expected to send a “positive signal” to Myanmar when it reviews sanctions against the country this month following historic weekend elections, an EU spokeswoman said Monday.
“There is a strong expectation for a positive signal from the EU,” said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, adding however that the EU needed first to review the post-election process.
The 27-nation EU began to ease sanctions on Myanmar earlier this year to encourage reform efforts after decades of military rule and pledged further action depending on the outcome of Sunday’s by-elections.
But Kocijancic cautioned against expectations that sanctions would be lifted in the coming days as the EU needs “to see how the post-election process goes”.
The sanctions regime, due to expire at the end of the month, will be reviewed by EU foreign ministers when they meet on April 23 in Luxembourg.
“The review of the Myanmar sanctions will be one of the main points on the agenda,” Kocijancic said.
An EU official invited to observe the election, Malgorzata Wasilewska, said she saw “very encouraging” signs.
In February, the EU lifted a travel ban on 87 Myanmar officials, including the president, in an effort to encourage more political reforms but kept an assets freeze against them.
The bloc is reviewing other sanctions, which include an arms embargo, a ban on gems and an assets freeze on nearly 500 people and 900 entities. They are all due to expire on April 30.