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Lifting EU sanctions on Burma comes as reward too early

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In the article 'EU schort sancties Birma jaar op’ (EU suspends sanctions on Burma for one year), on www.nrc.nl on 20.04.2012, a cautiously positive message is given on the situation in Burma. Arguments about the "remarkable transition" are formed by placing them outof context. Moderate enthusiasm about the upcoming recital of the 27 European minsters of Foreign Affairs is more appropriate. Different nuances with respect to the positive "remarkable transition” are important to make:

The recent elections are put forward as an indication for a positive democratic transition. The electoral process, however, ispart of a system that was created by the 'former' authoritarian military regime. Arguments that do occur as positive are actually showing how much work there is left to do to democratize the system. It is true that there is a "new government", but at least a quarter—as is written in the constitution—has a military background. Secondly, although dialogue with the main opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is considerable progress, it is remarkable that she needed explicit permission to participate in the elections, despite the expected mass victory.

The lifting of EU sanctions on the country comes as a reward too early. The changes in Burma are indeed "remarkable", but too little to say that they are 'irreversible'. Until that time, help and support for the development of Burma should be encouraged, but international sanctions can be better maintained.

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