1. ITV Report

Cameron backs suspension of sanctions against Burma

Prime Minister David Cameron meets Aung San Suu Kyi at her Lakeside Villa in Rangoon, Burma Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

David Cameron confirmed today that he would back the suspension, but not lifting, of sanctions against Burma.

Sharing a stage with the democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, he said that he was encouraged by the political reforms of recent months, but that it was important to keep up the pressure so that they are not reversed.

There are prospects for change in Burma and I think it is right for the rest of the world to respond to those changes...I think it is right to suspend the sanctions...against Burma - to suspend them, not to lift them - and obviously not to include the arms embargo.

– david cameron, prime minister
Mr Cameron and Ms Suu Kyi meet at her house in Rangoon Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The announcement came after a short meeting with Ms Suu Kyi at her lakeside villa in Rangoon - the same house that she was confined to for 15 years during various periods of house arrest.

Ms Suu Kyi said she supported the decision:

I believe [Burmese] President Thien Sein is genuine about democratic reforms and I am very happy that Prime Minister Cameron thinks that the suspension of sanctions is the right way to respond to this.

– aung san suu kyi, NLD leader

ITV News' Senior Political Correspondent Chris Ship, who joined the Prime Minister on his tour of east and south-east Asia, said that while Mr Cameron can recommend changes to the sanctions, the final decision will come at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on April 23rd.

Earlier, Mr Cameron held a meeting with Burmese President Thien Sein in the nation's capital Naypyidaw.

President Thien Sein has led the country through a series of political reforms including allowing the opposition NLD party to take up 43 seats it won in the by-election on April 1st.

David Cameron in talks with President Thien Sein Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Speaking on the runway soon after arriving in Burma, the Prime Minister said that he wanted to encourage the Burmese government to continue on the path of democratic reform.

Burma was a British colony until 1948. For most of the time since then Burma has been under military control leading to the country's diplomatic and economic isolation.

It is still one of the poorest countries in Asia.

Mr Cameron and Ms Suu Kyi both talked about addressing the country's human rights record and ethnic conflicts as well as securing democratic reforms.

Cameron is the first British Prime Minister to visit the country, and he took the historic opportunity to invite Suu Kyi back to the UK. She replied:

I am able to say, perhaps. That is great progress.

– Aung san suu kyi

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