April 5 - Myanmar's president says the nation is looking forward to the end of some international sanctions following April 1st by-elections. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Myanmar's president has taken many by surprise with a range of dramatic political reforms. Now Thein Sein, speaking at the recent ASEAN summit in Cambodia says the nation is looking forward to the easing of international sanctions. SOUNDBITE: MYANMAR PRESIDENT THEIN SEIN SAYING (Burmese): "The economic development of the country is very much behind and has not been progressing to its full extent as we've been under economic sanctions for over 20 years. Now, easing the sanctions would in some way bring a lot of positive potential and benefit the process of national reconciliation." ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan believes future co-operation with Myanmar will be easier. SOUNDBITE: SURIN PITSUWAN, ASEAN SECRETARY-GENERAL, SAYING (English): "From now onward we can concentrate on the contents of the co-operation rather than on the process and form, and presence or no presence of any member party." The U.S. and European Union put considerable emphasis on the conduct of Myanmar's April 1st by-elections as a deciding factor in the sanctions issue. In the event opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party scooped a landslide victory. China says it wants all sanctions on Myanmar to be lifted and is endorsing the by-election outcome. The U.S. says it is ready to relax some sanctions including a ban on U.S. firms investing in or offering financial services to Myanmar. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stressed the Obama administration wants to move cautiously, saying the country still has a long way to go after decades of military rule. Paul Chapman, Reuters.