EU mulling 150-mln-euro aid package for Myanmar
BRUSSELS — The European Union is mulling a 150-million-euro aid package to help Myanmar's new army-backed government continue on the path of reforms, EU diplomats said Wednesday.
A possible package, focused on health, education, agriculture and institutional capacity-building, was discussed by EU foreign ministers at talks in Brussels on Monday, said a source close to the matter who asked not to be identified.
At the talks, EU ministers agreed on the immediate lifting of travel bans on Myanmar leaders as a first step towards easing sanctions against the country of 60 million people.
Welcoming "the remarkable programme of political reform" undertaken by the nominally-civilian government, the 27-nation bloc said further positive steps on the road to political change "would lead to the further easing or lifting of the restrictive measures."
It called for the unconditional release of remaining political prisoners "within the next few months" and the "free and fair" conduct of the April 1 elections, which will see a historic bid for parliament by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
At stake are embargos on arms deliveries, logging and mining while the assets of more than 900 firms and utilities have been frozen.