UN Chief Encourages Further Easing of Burma Sanctions

    Burma's President Thein Sein (L) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon shake hands before their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw, April 30, 2012.
    Burma's President Thein Sein (L) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon shake hands before their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw, April 30, 2012.
    Daniel Schearf

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged a further easing of economic and political sanctions against Burma Monday, during an unprecedented speech to the country's parliament.

    Ban praised President Thein Sein for ushering in a string of dramatic and unexpected reforms since taking office a year ago.

    Last week, the European Union suspended most of its sanctions, except arms sales, following the examples of Australia and Canada, while the United States maintained sanctions on trade.

    The U.N. chief urged the international community to do more to support reform efforts in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

    "I urge the international community to go even further in lifting, suspending, or easing trade restrictions and other sanctions," he said. "Second, Myanmar needs a substantial increase in international development assistance as well as foreign direct investment."

    The U.N. chief also praised democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership.  Her National League for Democracy Monday backed off a demand for changes to a constitutional oath required of members of parliament.

    "We decided to compromise in this situation because we don't want to become a political problem. Some people may think the NLD has given in, but let them think what they want,"  Aung San Suu Kyi explained in response to a reporter's question about why they made the compromise.

    NLD members could take the oath as early as Wednesday.  The oath requires politicians to say they will “safeguard” the military-drafted constitution as they are sworn in. The NLD members opposed it because they want to amend the charter.

    The constitution sets aside a quarter of all seats in parliament for the military and allows it to take over government if there is an “emergency.”

    Earlier Monday Ban held meetings with President Thein Sein.  Tuesday he is scheduled to meet for the first time with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.  

    Ban last visited Burma in 2009 when the military government was still in power, holding Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest, and refusing to let her see the U.N. leader.

    The democracy leader was released shortly after the controversial 2010 election that brought the nominally civilian government to power.  

    The NLD boycotted the 2010 election because their leader was not allowed to run, but participated in April’s by-elections where Aung San Suu Kyi and 42 of her fellow NLD party members won seats.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    by: Mohammad Rauf, Jeddah, K.S.A.
    May 04, 2012 11:45 PM
    Sanction should be by suspending but by easing may give negative impact as still far to be federal democratic reform. Issue of Rohingya is one of the ethnic minorities in Myanmar still to say “A DREAM”. We need an international guaranty for a real Federal Democratic reform where human rights and citizenship rights for Rohingya that can guaranty safe and security in the future. 60 years problems may never be expected to be solved in days. A great care for easing sanctions!

    by: NVO
    April 30, 2012 10:44 AM
    Bon Key Monkey is NEW WORLD ORDER, BEWARE!!

    by: NVO
    April 30, 2012 6:36 AM

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.