European Union leaders on Monday urged Myanmar’s leaders to continue reforms and pledged to further ease sanctions if the regime meets the bloc’s expectations.
“I welcome the important changes taking place in Burma/Myanmar and encourage its government to maintain its determination to continue on the path of reform,” EU president Herman Van Rompuy said in a statement after a summit in Brussels.
“These changes are opening up important new prospects for developing the relationship between the European Union and Burma/Myanmar.
“I look forward to further progress in the coming weeks, in particular the further release of political prisoners, free and fair elections, and halting ethnic conflicts.”
After nearly half a century of outright military rule in the country formerly known as Burma, the regime has surprised observers with a series of reforms which culminated recently in democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi standing for a seat in parliament.
The EU agreed in January to begin easing sanctions on Myanmar to encourage reform, lifting travel bans against the nation’s leaders and pledging further action pending continued change.
“We will continue to ease the EU’s restrictive measures if our expectations are met,” Van Rompuy said.
Separately British prime minister David Cameron said it was possible he could visit Myanmar, following a series of visits by senior western officials including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Cameron said he would “keep all options open” when asked if would visit the country, but said that Aung San Suu Kyi was on an “extremely busy schedule with these elections and everything else coming up.”
“But we’re going to watch very closely and do anything we can to help frankly,” he said.