28 Apr 2009

EU extends sanctions on Burma

9:01 am on 28 April 2009

The EU has extended sanctions against Burma and renewed calls for the release of political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The sanctions, which have been in place since 2006, were extended for one year.

But at a meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers offered to review the sanctions issue if Burma's government showed signs of democratic progress.

The BBC reports the sanctions include a travel ban on top officials, an arms embargo and a freeze of Burmese assets in Europe.

They were intensified in 2007, after a crackdown on protests by Buddhist monks, to include a ban on exports of timber, metals and precious stones.

Foreign ministers also called for the immediate release of more than 2,000 political prisoners, including opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

General elections are planned for next year, but EU diplomats say Burma is yet to take the steps needed to make them credible and inclusive.