EU Foreign Policy Chief Visits Burma

Posted April 28th, 2012 at 1:30 am (UTC-5)
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European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is in Burma for talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and to set up a new EU office in Rangoon to oversee the management of aid programs and to handle political matters.

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

In a statement released 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.

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

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