16 January 2011

Myanmar ethnic parties call for sanctions lift

YANGON - Myanmar's main ethnic political parties called on Sunday for Western nations to lift economic sanctions on the country as its new parliament prepares to convene for the first time.

A joint declaration said sanctions imposed by the United States and European countries 'are causing many difficulties in the important areas of trade, investment and modern technologies for the development of ethnic regions'. 'We ethnic parties together request that the United States and European countries lift sanctions,' the minority parties said.

The declaration was signed by the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, the Chin National Party, the All Mon Region Democracy Party and the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party.

All five groups won seats in Myanmar's controversial elections last year, with the largest ethnic winner being the SNDP, which will take a total of 57 seats when parliament and regional legislatures convene on Jan 31.

The government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party claimed an overwhelming majority in the polls, winning 882 seats amid allegations of fraud and intimidation, plus the exclusion of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. -- The Straits Times

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