David Cameron ready to signal easing of sanctions against Burma

 

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.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders