CANADA is lifting sanctions in Myanmar following a wave of widely praised political reforms in the country.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Tuesday the government there has changed course in a major way. Canada's decision follows a decision by the European Union on Monday, which suspended its sanctions against Myanmar for a year.
Baird, who visited Myanmar last month, said prohibitions on exports and imports have been removed immediately, but an embargo will be maintained on sales of arms.
He said he has seen encouraging steps after former political prisoner Aung Sang Suu Kyi won a parliamentary seat in historic elections there earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the UN secretary-general's special adviser on Myanmar says the resource-rich but desperately poor nation has the potential to become an Asian tiger if it promotes investment, eases financial restrictions, and finds experts to develop the country.
Vijay Nambiar gave an upbeat briefing to a group of reporters Tuesday, ahead of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's visit to Myanmar this weekend, saying that after more than 20 years of "almost self-inflicted hibernation" the country has undergone rapid and dramatic political changes.
"I think the pace as well as the nature of the change has been in some ways extraordinary, and perhaps far in advance of what had been envisaged" by the military, which ruled the country for 50 years, he said.
The new government headed by President Thein Sein has overseen a wave of political reforms and won wide praise for progress toward democratic rule. The government has freed political prisoners, signed truces with rebel groups, and organised April 1 by-elections deemed free and fair that were overwhelmingly won by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party and earned the Nobel laureate a seat in parliament after years of repression and house arrest. AP
Thursday, April 26, 2012
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