Cameron calls for sanctions on Burma to be eased
The Prime Minister David Cameron today called for sanctions against Burma to be eased as he made a historic visit to the country.
Mr Cameron is visiting Burma on the first part of his tour of South East Asia promoting United Kingdom interests abroad.
This morning Mr Cameron met with President Thein Sein and stressed that the Burmese government had to make their moves towards democracy 'irreversible'.
Later, Mr Cameron met with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.
He met the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in the garden of the villa where she spent 15 years under house arrest.
Speaking afterwards Mr Cameron said, "I think it is right to suspend sanctions that there are against Burma," he said.
"To suspend them, not to lift them."
Mr Cameron continued, "(Burma) shouldn't be as poor as it is, it shouldn't have suffered under dictatorship for as long as it has and things don't have to be that way.
"There is the real prospect of change and I'm very much committed to working with you in trying to help make sure that your country makes those changes.
"I met with President Thien Sein today and there are prospects for change in Burma and I think it is right for the rest of the world to respond to those changes.
"Of course we must respond with care, we must always be sceptical and questioning because we want to know those changes are irreversible, but as we have discussed, I think it is right to suspend the sanctions that there are against Burma - to suspend them, not to lift them - and obviously not to include the arms embargo.
"I do think it is important to send a signal that we want to help see the changes that can bring the growth of freedom of human rights and democracy in your country."
Aung San Suu Kyi said: “We still have a long way to go but we believe we can get there.
"I believe President Thien Sein is genuine about democratic reforms and I am very happy that Prime Minister Cameron thinks that the suspension of sanctions is the right way to respond to this.
"I support the lifting, rather than the suspension, of sanctions because this would be an acknowledgement of the role of the president and other reformers.
"This suspension will have taken place because of the steps taken by the president and other reformers.
"It would also make it quite clear to those who are against reform that should they try to obstruct the way of the reformers, then sanctions could come back."
The first Burmese general election in 20 years was held in 2010, it was followed by the establishment of a civilian government in 2011 - which was followed by a host of reforms, including the release of political prisoners.
Mr Cameron's visit to the country follows a trip by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in December of last year.
The British Prime Minister also told reporters that he had asked Miss Suu Kyi to visit Britain.
She responded by saying, “Two years ago, I would have said thank you for the invitation but sorry.
"Now I am able to say perhaps. That is great progress."
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...