The Philippines has called on the global community to lift sanctions on Myanmar to reward “unprecedented” reforms that are taking place and help the country move toward democracy.
The Philippines, which for many years was one of the most outspoken Asian critics of military rule in Myanmar, particularly welcomed the government’s pledge last week to release 651 political and other prisoners in a mass amnesty.
“This action demonstrates the political resolve and commitment of the government of Myanmar President Thein Sein to nurture an environment for an enduring national reconciliation and democracy,” the foreign affairs department said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.
It said that the “unprecedented political and economic reforms now underway in Myanmar should find reciprocal gesture from the international community and that international sanctions against Myanmar should already be lifted.”
The US and the EU implemented sanctions against Myanmar in the 1990s as punishment for the military’s oppressive rule.
However, Thein Sein, who was appointed president of Myanmar in March last year to head a nominally civilian government that replaced the military junta, has stunned the world with his reform drive.
Western nations have responded positively to the reforms, with the US saying last week it would restore full diplomatic ties with Myanmar.
Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said yesterday that his government, along with other members of ASEAN, had already called for a lifting of sanctions on Myanmar last year.
He said the Philippines reiterated its call on Tuesday for sanctions to be lifted because of the recent positive developments in Myanmar.