Lift sanctions on Myanmar
Politicians within and outside Myanmar yesterday called on Western nations to lift sanctions against the country, whose new parliament is preparing to convene for the first time this month.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) called for the lifting of the punitive measures enforced by the United States and European countries, echoing a joint declaration by major ethnic political parties in Myanmar.
The ethnic groups' statement said sanctions "are causing many difficulties in the important areas of trade, investment and modern technologies for the development of ethnic regions".
"We ethnic parties together request that the United States and European countries lift sanctions," the parties said of the measures imposed by the West in response to the junta's poor human rights record.
The declaration was signed by the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, the Chin National Party, the All Mon Region Democracy Party and the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party.
All five groups won seats in Myanmar's controversial elections in November, with the largest ethnic winner being the SNDP, which will take a total of 57 seats when parliament and regional legislatures convene on January 31.
The government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party claimed an overwhelming majority in the polls, winning 882 out of around 1,160 seats amid allegations of fraud and intimidation, plus the exclusion of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.