As they had agreed during their meeting on 10 January following Mr William Hague’s return from Burma, the Ministre d’Etat telephoned his British counterpart yesterday in order, in turn, to present to him the conclusions of his visit to Burma. He underlined that the goal of this visit was to encourage the stakeholders in the political reform movement, chief among them being Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi. The government had made significant gestures: the release of several hundred political prisoners and the ceasefire agreement with the KNU, the main Karen armed group. There was positive momentum.
The two ministers agreed that in order to encourage this process, the European Union must initiate a gradual revision of the European sanctions regime. France and the United Kingdom would like to seize the opportunity of the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 23 January in order to propose initial, very short-term measures.
The two ministers also agreed that the EU should remain vigilant. The current sanctions regime will expire at the end of April. The EU must consider a new approach and adapt it for the future. The democratic nature of the parliamentary by-elections scheduled for 1 April and progress on resolving the conflicts with the ethnic minorities will be, in this respect, key criteria in our decision-making./.