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Burma: Italy confirms the line of dialogue. Terzi to visit from 24 to 26 April

Italy has confirmed its line of dialogue with Rangoon, a line also supported in Europe. Indeed, Foreign Minister Giulo Terzi will be visiting Burma on 24-26 April. The western world, and Italy, have welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi’s election to the Burmese Parliament, which they view as a “very positive step”. And President Giorgio Napolitano has sent his warmest congratulations, writing in a message to Suu Kyi: “This is a significant result that rewards your messages of idealism and your tenacious commitment to the affirmation of democracy and the protection of human rights in your country”.

The international community is encouraging the government to continue making steady progress in restoring and protecting the fundamental freedoms. Minister Terzi hopes that the forthcoming meeting of EU foreign minsters will take “this most positive development” into account, including with a view to re-examining the European sanctions regime with respect to Myanmar. “This is a historic time for the cause of democracy and a unique opportunity to foster new and more open relations between the international community and Burma”, said Terzi.

The opposition’s electoral triumph and the overwhelming victory of the National League for Democracy, led by San Suu Kyi, has brought at least 40 opposition deputies into Parliament, out of 45 available seats. This outcome will with all probability lead, in turn, to a lightening of the European Union’s sanctions against Burma. From Brussels, with Italy’s support, a clear message welcoming the result has emerged from the EU, whose Foreign Ministers’ Council will be meeting on 23 April 2012. “The meeting will send out a positive signal”, said the spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy.

More prudent declarations have arrived from Hillary Clinton, who met Suu Kyi in December 2011. “It’s too soon to judge how much progress has really been made”, declared the American Secretary of State. Washington will in any case have a much more complicated path to follow in reviewing the sanctions. The restrictions are governed by 9 different legislative provisions, with a vote in Congress being required to overturn the most significant sanctions.

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