The United States government will ease some of its sanctions against Myanmar (also known as Burma) in the wake of last week’s landmark elections in the Southeast Asian country.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington will relax some restrictions on investing in Myanmar, make it easier for Myanmar officials to visit the U.S., and will soon name an ambassador to Yangon.
She described this initial phase of easing sanctions as part of a “broader effort to help accelerate economic modernization and political reform.
However, Clinton added that the majority of sanctions will remain in place.
Sanctions and prohibitions will stay in place on individuals and institutions that remain on the wrong side of these historic reform efforts, she warned.
Among other steps she would like to see Yangon undertake are the release of all remaining political prisoners and an end to Myanmar’s military agreements with North Korea.
Nonetheless, she praised the leadership and courage of Myanmar President Thein Sein following a historic poll that will witness long-time dissident and opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi entering parliament for the first time.
Suu Kyi, whose party’s victory in a 1990 poll was nullified by the military, won the majority of seats in the recent election.
The United States will stand with the reformers and the democrats both inside the government and in the larger civil society as they work together for that more hopeful future that is the right of every single person, Clinton told reporters.
BBC reported that the European Union said it will take similar modest steps with respect to Myanmar.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters: That does not mean an instant and complete opening up of trade with Burma.”
Myanmar had been ruled for half a century by a repressive military until a nominally civilian government was elected last year.