Minister Reynders discusses political transition in Myanmar with colleague and announces visit in March

date: 05 February 2013

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders received the Myanmar Minister for Foreign Affairs, U Wunna Maung Lwin, today.

Didier Reynders congratulated his colleague with the reforms that have been carried out in Myanmar since March 2011. The reforms have thoroughly changed the regime and the country. But the road to democracy is still long. Therefore, Minister Reynders encouraged Myanmar to continue carrying out the political and economic reforms. The minister also requested the unconditional release of all political prisoners and expressed his pleasure regarding the releases that had already been decided. He called for ethnical pacification in the country, especially within the states of Kachin and Rakhine.

The two ministers also discussed the sanctions placed upon Myanmar by the European Union, which will again be discussed in April. At this time, all sanctions have been lifted, with the exception of the arms embargo, which remains in force. Minister Reynders stated that the government’s actions with regard to human rights, political prisoners and relations with ethnic minorities will play a role in the EU’s position.

The minister also thanked his colleague because, as of 1 February 2013, Belgians will now be able to get a visa upon their arrival in the airports of Myanmar. This measure will strengthen the contact between the two countries.

Finally, Didier Reynders announced that he wants to visit Myanmar in March. During this visit, he wants to start up a strong bilateral relationship and express the Belgian support for the continuing opening process. The ministers agreed to examine the question of political prisoners, based on a list of names that will be provided in the run-up to the visit.

Didier Reynders’ visit, which will be followed by regional economic missions, will be a step towards growing a stronger bilateral relationship, both politically and economically.