EU agrees to suspend most Myanmar sanctions, keep arms embargo


Lower House lawmakers attend a regular session of parliament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Monday, April 23, 2012. (Khin Maung Win/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The European Union agreed on Monday to suspend most of its sanctions against Myanmar for a year in recognition of sweeping democratic reforms after half a century of military rule, EU diplomats said.

The decision, due to come into effect later this week, was taken by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg. It rewards a dramatic shift in Myanmar that has seen veteran pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi re-elected to parliament and a raft of repressive measures lifted.

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EU sanctions have targeted nearly a thousand firms and institutions with asset freezes, and visa bans have affected almost 500 people. The measures have also included a prohibition on technical assistance related to the military and investment bans in the mining, timber and precious metals sectors.

Measures have also included an arms embargo, which is not being suspended.

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