German FM visits Myanmar to start new chapter of cooperation

   Apr 29, 4:57 pm

Yangon, Apr 29 (Xinhua-ANI): German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle arrived Yangon Sunday as part of his trip to Southeast Asia to start a new chapter of cooperation with Myanmar, official sources said.

Westerwelle's visit came a day after an Office of the 27-member European Union (EU) to Myanmar was inaugurated by its Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton on Saturday who is visiting Myanmar for three days until Monday.

Westerwelle will first meet Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and parliament representative- elect, shortly after his arrival in Yangon according to schedule.

Westerwelle will travel to Nay Pyi Taw on Monday and call on Myanmar President U Thein Sein to voice support to the country's historic reform process and encourage more reform.

Germany announced decision to resume full-scale development aid to Myanmar following that of the European Union to suspend sanctions against the country for one year.

Germany is known as the second-largest donor to Myanmar after Japan with Myanmar still owing it an estimated 700 million euro in unpaid debt, according to German sources.

EU foreign ministers announced in Luxemburg on April 23 suspension of most sanctions against Myanmar for a year but retained an embargo on arms sale in recognition of its rapid political and economic reforms.

EU's suspension of sanctions rather than complete lifting include that of a ban on investment and trade related to timber and mining.

Sanctions targeted more than 800 companies and nearly 500 people and included the withholding of some development aid.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury has relaxed some sanctions on Myanmar to allow financial transactions to support certain humanitarian and development projects.

Japan has also announced that it will write off 300 billion yen (about 3.7 billion U.S. dollars) debt of Myanmar and resume development aid to support the country's democratic and economic reforms. (Xinhua-ANI)

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