US to ease Myanmar sanctions

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US to ease Myanmar sanctions

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It is being hailed as another turning point in Myanmar’s fledgling democratic transition.

Just days after Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s party secured a landslide victory in by-elections, Washington is to relax sanctions further.

Steps include seeking to name a US ambassador and to set up an office of the US Agency for International Development in the former Burma.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said Washington was “beginning the process of a targeted easing of our ban on the export of US financial services and investment as part of a broader effort to help accelerate economic modernisation and political reform”.

The old guard still dominates parliament, hence a cautious approach by the US. It says Myanmar has a long way to go to shake off decades of military rule.

However Washington’s gesture rewards reforms like sweeping economic changes, the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the legalisation of trade unions.

With Aung San Suu Kyi now an elected member of parliament, the EU may similarly ease sanctions.