Obama eases Myanmar sanctions


US President Barack Obama (L) talks to Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (R) during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - US Summit at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos, 08 September 2016. Photo: Made Nagi/EPA

President Barack Obama on Friday formally eased sanctions on Myanmar, fulfilling a pledge made to the country's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in September.

Citing "substantial advances to promote democracy," Obama issued an executive order rescinding sanctions, the White House said. 

The order reinstates preferential tariffs for Myanmar that were suspended more than two decades ago amid human rights abuses by the ruling junta, as well as some visa bans.

The move is designed to coax the rapidly transforming southeast Asian country from decades of economic isolation.

The White House is keen to help the country's economy and Suu Kyi's administration, which is managing a difficult transition from military-run pariah to full-fledged democracy.

Although its constitution technically bars the 71-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate from heading Myanmar's government, she received a leader's welcome in Washington last month.

Obama stated at the time that revoking sanctions would be "the right thing to do to ensure that the people of Burma see rewards for a new way of doing business."

(AFP)

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