Thursday, 14 November 2019

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EU gives $200 million aid package

(Mizzima) – EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced on Monday the release of a significant aid package to Burma, earmarked to benefit the health, education and infrastructure.

European Union development commissioner Andris Piebalgs Photo: ec.europa.euHe announced an aid package of nearly $200 million after a meeting with President Thein Sein on Monday.

Piebalgs said Thein Sein had spoken positively about Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now seeking a seat in Parliament.

He said the president noted that in spite of major reforms in Burma, the EU sanctions were still in place.

Piebalgs said that if the April 1 by-elections are free and fair, “then everyone would expect the easing of sanctions to continue.”

“The president mentioned a lot about Aung San Suu Kyi and it was all positive. That was unexpected,” Piebalgs said. “He said she was extremely important in the country and her participation in the political process was crucial. That's a very positive sign.”

Piebalgs will meet  Suu Kyi at her home in the former capital, Rangoon, on Tuesday.

Economic sanctions the EU and the U.S. are definitely affecting Burmese growth and hindering potential for foreign investment, he said.

An end to EU sanctions would require the consensus of 27 EU countries, something that is “not such an easy thing to achieve,” he said. It is expected that after the by-elections some Western sanctions will be withdrawn.

It iwasthe first trip to Myanmar by a top EU official after the new government took office in March 2011 and started reforms.

Reports from Brussels said that on April 23, EU foreign ministers will explore the possibility of a new substantial reduction of sanctions on Burma.

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