The reform process under way in Myanmar will not backslide, was the assurance President Thein Sein offered Italy and the EU in his meeting with Minister Giulio Terzi in the capital Naypyidaw. The two also reviewed all the economic aspects of bilateral relations.
“I was pleased to receive assurances from the Burmese authorities on the irreversibility of the democratic process in its entirety. Italy reiterated its expectations that this process will be firmly anchored to the fundamental values of human rights, freedom of expression and pluralism, Terzi commented at the end of a meeting with his colleague Wunna Maung Lwin. The need for advancing this process of reforms launched by the Burmese government “is the EU’s reason for suspending sanctions with a possible revision in 12 months, with the exclusion of the weapons embargo”.
Meeting with Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Minister Terzi, accompanied by EU Special Envoy and current mayor of Turin for Burma Piero Fassino, invited her to “come to Italy soon, to visit Turin and all the other Italian cities that have granted her honorary citizenship over the years”. Italy, San Suu Kyi said, “has supported the democratic movement for decades and we expect its support also in the future”.
Terzi said he was looking forward to engaging in “common efforts” with the opposition leader and with “all institutions sincerely committed to real democratic transition”. Italy, he underscored, “received with great satisfaction the results of the April elections [in which the Nobel laureate was elected to parliament for the first time, editor’s note]. The Burmese people can count on Italy’s full support in ensuring that the democratic transition does not backslide”, he added, along with his hope in “the unconditional release of all the remaining political prisoners and the end to violence against ethnic minorities”.
On the bilateral plane, the receptiveness and confidence that Italy and the EU have shown Myanmar, Minister Terzi pointed out, “are leading to some very appealing intentions on the level of economic relations, not only as regards trade but also business partnerships. I believe that my mission had to take place at this moment, and was well timed not only for us to show our solidarity but also in order to position ourselves as System Italy in what could become a major partnership in Southeast Asia”.
Minister Terzi, accompanied in his meeting with Minister for the Peace Process and Ethnic Communities Aung Ming by Director General for the Italian Development Cooperation Elisabetta Belloni, announced that Italy had offered to contribute, through the Cooperation, to demining projects in the areas of Myanmar devastated for decades by conflict.