David Cameron ready to signal easing of sanctions against Burma
Thursday 12 April 2012
David Cameron is ready to signal the easing of sanctions against Burma when he makes a historic visit to the country tomorrow.
In what is believed to be the first ever visit to the former colony by a British Prime Minister, Mr Cameron will deliver a message of support to democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi in person.
He is also due to meet President Thein Sein and congratulate him on pushing through democratic reforms.
Details of the trip emerged as Mr Cameron continued his trade mission to South East Asia.
At a joint press conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak urged his counterpart to relax sanctions.
Mr Najib, who recently held talks with Mr Thein in Burma, said: "I really do believe first of all that he is sincere.
"This has been supported by Aung San Suu Kyi's own personal remarks about him."
He went on: "We need to support a man like President Thein Sein so he will be supported by the community, because there will be elements who want to take a much more conservative approach."
Mr Cameron said developments in Burma may be "one potential chapter of light" in a "world where there are many dark chapters in history being written".
"Of course we should be sceptical. Of course we should be questioning. Of course we shouldn't be naive," he said.
But he added: "Aung San Suu Kyi herself, who has spent so many years in such a long, lonely but powerful struggle, believes that he is acting in good faith."
Britain had played a "leading role" in the imposition of sanctions, and would also not be "backwards" in responding to positive changes, he went on.
In a question-and-answer session with students at the Nottingham University campus in Malaysia later, Mr Cameron said: "I hope that, following my meetings tomorrow, I will have the confidence to go back to my country, back to others in the European Union, and argue that the change in Burma is irreversible, that they are set on a path towards democracy, that, in a world of difficulty and darkness and all sorts of problems, here is one bright light that we should encourage, and we should respond in a way that makes that regime feel that it is moving in the right direction and that the world is on its side."
Ten members of the business delegation who have been accompanying Mr Cameron around South East Asia are due to travel to Burma tomorrow.
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Greece debt crisis: Athens has one day to find €1.6bn
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...
£15500 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This international company deve...
£16000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established name in IT Ser...