David Cameron says he will support suspending the European Union's economic sanctions on Burma, which are to be reviewed by the end of the month. The British prime minister spoke after meetings with the country's reform-minded president, Thein Sein, and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently elected to parliament after spending much of the last two decades under house arrest. However, Cameron specified that he did not want to see an arms embargo on the country be lifted as part of any easing of sanctions.
The embargo, along with economic and political sanctions, was imposed during the repressive rule of the previous ruling military government of Burma, also called Myanmar. By talking of suspending rather than lifting sanctions, Cameron was making clear the move would be a provisional one that could easily be withdrawn, if judged necessary. Western nations have held out the prospect of easing sanctions if Thein Sein, a former general who retains close ties to the military, continues the political liberalization he began after taking office a year ago.