EU to lift Burma sanctions in wake of reforms


The European Union is expected to lift all sanctions on Burma next week, except for an arms embargo, in recognition of the “remarkable process of reform” in the country, a document obtained by Reuters has shown.

The EU agreed a year ago to suspend most of its sanctions against Burma for a year, but ministers are expected to go further on Monday by agreeing “to lift all sanctions with the exception of the embargo on arms”, according to the document.

The decision comes at a time when violence is threatening the fledgling reforms. The opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said she objected to violence “committed by anybody against anybody” and that Buddhist-Muslim clashes threatened Burma’s progress toward greater democracy and economic growth.

Human rights groups have criticised Burma’s government for failing to prevent attacks on minority Muslims by majority Buddhists. Sectarian violence in western Rakhine state has killed hundreds and driven more than 100,000 Rohingya Muslims from their homes.