EU Foreign Policy Chief Meets With Aung San Suu Kyi

Posted April 28th, 2012 at 5:40 am (UTC-5)
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European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon Saturday.

Standing next to the Nobel Peace laureate at a news conference in Burma's main city, Ashton urged the Burmese government to continue its progress toward democracy.

Ashton is set to open a new EU office in Rangoon to oversee the management of aid programs and to handle political matters.

Speaking in Brunei Friday after a meeting of European and Southeast Asian foreign ministers and diplomats, Ashton said the office would be the first step toward establishing a full diplomatic delegation.

Her visit comes just days after the EU suspended a wide range of trade, economic and individual sanctions against the long-isolated country.

On Monday, Ashton will meet with President Thein Sein and other officials in the administrative capital, Naypyidaw.

In a statement Friday, Ashton said the EU had decided to open a new chapter in relations, although she added that reforms need to continue and the EU needs to see further progress, in particular the unconditional release of all political prisoners and efforts to end ethnic conflicts.