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Brussels, 13 February 2012

Statement by Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development from his mission to Burma/Myanmar

Brussels, 13 February 2012 - After his second day in Burma/Myanmar, EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs stated:

"The purpose of my visit to Burma/Myanmar was to assess the ongoing reforms and encourage their continuation. I met with our partners from the UN and international organisations yesterday. I had today a constructive meeting with President U Thein Sein, as well as with U Shwe Mann, Speaker of the Lower House, and the Ministers for Education, Dr. Mya Aye, of Railways, U Aung Min, and of Health, Dr. Pe Thet Khin.

I said to the President how much I was impressed by the pace of change in the country, undertaken under his leadership. I took note of the significant progress in negotiating peace settlements with ethnic groups, a key ingredient for stability and prosperity. We discussed the respect for Human Rights and the release of political prisoners. In this regard, the authorities confirmed their readiness to cooperate with us on remaining cases. I also encouraged them to ensure a free and fair electoral process in view of the by-elections on the 1st of April.

The EU wants to support the momentum for change, in response to progress. We will step up our dialogue, with a series of high-level visits. Moreover, I announced a new €150 million assistance package to accompany the country's economic and social reforms during the International Conference on "Development Policy Options" in Nay Pyi Taw. EU funds will finance more basic services in the areas of Health, Education and livelihoods. We discussed options for building the capacities of the public administration and agreed to explore how peace in the ethnic States could be consolidated.

I am very much looking forward to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi tomorrow. Her views, and those of the civil society, will give me an even more comprehensive picture of the situation".

For video stock shots, audio sources and pictures from the ground, please visit Europe by Satellite:

1) Press materials from 12/02/2012

2) Press materials from 13/02/2012 available on Europe by Satellite soon

More information:

IP/12/115 – Commissioner Piebalgs to visit Burma/Myanmar to pledge new support for democratic and economic reform

MEMO/12/89 – EU development cooperation with Burma/Myanmar

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