EU Welcomes Burmese Decision on Myitsone Dam

Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 5:45 am (UTC-5)
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The European Union has added its voice to those welcoming the Burmese government's decision to suspend work on a controversial hydro-electric dam.

A spokesman for EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said the EU is encouraged to see the Burmese leadership beginning to act on its promise to be a government of the people.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the United States have also welcomed the decision, saying it shows a willingness to respond to the wishes of ordinary citizens. But China has urged Burma to protect the interests of Chinese companies involved in the project.

The EU statement said Europe welcomes the Burmese government's readiness to address ecological and economic concerns associated with the Myitsone dam in northern Kachin state. It also noted that the government had permitted a “strikingly open” national debate on the issue.

Aides to Aung San Suu Kyi said the dam was discussed when she met last week with a senior government official.

China and Burma agreed in 2009 to build the $ 3.6 billion dam on the Irrawaddy River, slated for completion in 2019.

The joint project has sparked protests by environmentalists and residents who say the dam would flood a huge area and have devastating consequences for the people and the environment.