The European Union and Japan are both reportedly close to easing more sanctions against Myanmar — the latest in a series of positive donor responses to ongoing political reforms in the country.
EU members have agreed in principle to suspend for a 12-month period all but one of the sanctions the bloc imposed on Myanmar, EU diplomats said, according to Agence France-Press. The EU will maintain its arms embargo,Agence France-Presse says.
The one year period “gives us time to assess the sustainability of reform,” one diplomat said.
A formal announcement of the agreement is expected to be made at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg Monday (April 23). At least one expert on democratic development in Southeast Asia has predicted that the bloc will make this move.
Meanwhile, Japan is reportedly close to announcing that it will resume providing development loans to Myanmar. The announcement could be made as early as this weekend, Reuters says, citing a source familiar with the topic. The resumption of loans will likely follow a 300 billion yen ($3.7 billion) debt relief Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to announce Saturday (April 21), the Asahi Shimbun reported, according to Agence France-Presse.
The two countries are “putting the final touches” on how Myanmar can pay at least a part of its debt to Japan, which is one of the preconditions for new loans, explained Reuters’ source, who requested anonymity.
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