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EU to suspend Myanmar sanctions for a year

Only the arms embargo will stay in place, diplomats are reported as saying.

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The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said she will travel to Myanmar from Apr. 28 to 30 (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

European Union governments will move to suspend most sanctions against Myanmar at a meeting to take place in Luxembourg on Monday.

Reuters reports that a preliminary deal on the issue was agreed by EU envoys late on Wednesday night, which is expected to be formally approved by the EU foreign ministers next week.

It says the sanctions, including a ban on investing and trading in timber and mining, will be suspended for a year.

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The Wall Street Journal refers to an unnamed senior European diplomat who said that the arms embargo  and a ban on exports of equipment that can be used for internal repression will remain in place, while the trade suspension will be reviewed after a report on forced labor is presented in June.

The BBC says that the decision was made in recognition of the progress made by Burma's military-led government since the polls in November 2010, which brought a transition from military to nominally civilian rule.

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Meanwhile, the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said she will travel to Myanmar from Apr. 28 to 30, AFP says.

"I do hope that what we are now seeing is an opportunity for this country to go forward," Ashton reportedly told the European Parliament.

"We will now enter into an active collaboration with Myanmar, to assist the reform process and to contribute to economic, political and social development," she said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120419/eu-suspend-myanmar-sanctions-year