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France promises rewards for reformist Myanmar

France promises rewards for reformist Myanmar
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The French foreign minister, meeting Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, has said the EU will respond with ‘concrete measures’ to recent government reforms.

Alain Juppé met the veteran activist at her lakeside home where she spent almost two decades under house arrest.

Later he was due to bestow Suu Kyi with the French Legion of Honour.

Juppé‘s visit to Myanmar or Burma, the first ever by a French foreign minister, follows those of his American and British counterparts.

“Today, France wishes to support the ongoing movement toward reform and opening in Burma, by tripling our bilateral aid to this country,” Juppé said.

Friday saw the release of around 300 political prisoners, including several prominent dissidents.

The Burmese government does not recognise the term ‘political’, arguing the prisoners were jailed for committing crimes. But as well as freeing them, it has also eased repressive laws and begun a dialogue with the opposition.

The US says it will upgrade its ties with the country but wants more action before sanctions are lifted.

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