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Terzi in Myanmar, ahead with reforms – Italy supports EU sanctions suspension

26 April 2012 – Myanmar: Terzi invites Aung San Suu Kyi to Italy. Nobel laureate: Italy at our side also in the future


Accompanied by former EU Special Envoy for Burma and current mayor of Turin Piero Fassino, Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi invited Aung San Suu Kyi to “come to Italy and visit Turin and all the other Italian cities that have granted her honorary citizenship over the years”. This was Terzi’s announcement as he spoke with journalists at the end of a meeting with the Nobel laureate in her home in Yangon that was also her prison for many years.


During the meeting Aung San Suu Kyi said that “Italy, a member of the EU, has supported the democratic movement for decades and we expect the same support in the future”.


 


24 April 2012 – Terzi in Myanmar, ahead with reforms – Italy supports EU sanctions suspension


After Jakarta, Myanmar is the second leg of Minister Giulio Terzi’s Asia mission, which will end on 27 April in Brunei where he is to attend the EU-ASEAN ministerial summit.


Terzi’s visit to Naypyidaw, where he will be received by President Thein Sein, and to Yangon, where he is to meet with opposition leader and recently elected MP Aung San Suu Kyi, takes place 20 years on from the last visit by an Italian minister to that country, led for decades by a military junta. Accompanied by former EU special envoy for Myanmar Piero Fassino, Terzi arrives in the capital the day after an EU Council decision in Luxembourg – strongly supported by Italy – to suspend sanctions for a year, with the exclusion of the weapons embargo. Thus Italy and Europe have decided to acknowledge the gestures of the civilian government led by President Thein Sein, and now, in particular, await “the unconditional release of the remaining political prisoners and the end of all restrictions imposed on those already freed”.


Suspension of EU sanctions


The suspension of EU sanctions is a signal that “encourages the reform process already launched” in Myanmar, and praises an approach that makes new relations possible with the EU, which is now poised to initiate “active collaboration with Myanmar as a whole, with a view to aiding the reform process and contributing to economic, political and social development”.


Confident receptiveness


Terzi explained that the suspension of EU sanctions “is not irreversible, rather the reforms must be”. The message, therefore, is one of “confident receptiveness”, and of “the international community���s encouragement of growing dialogue and increasingly solid relations with Myanmar, so that democracy becomes a reality”.


The minister’s Asia mission will conclude on 27 April in Brunei, which is hosting the EU-ASEAN ministerial summit, whose agenda includes a 2013-2017 action plan for the partnership. The meeting’s aim, which Italy supports, is to forge a free-trade agreement in the near future between Europe and ASEAN’s ten member countries – a market of 600 million people.

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