EU extends Myanmar sanctions until 2010

EU extends Myanmar sanctions until 2010 Luxembourg - European Union foreign ministers on Monday extended the bloc's sanctions against Myanmar and its military junta until April 2010, calling for a new commitment to democracy in the country.

The 27-member EU currently has an arms embargo, trade restrictions and visa bans on Myanmar's leaders.

"The authorities of Burma/Myanmar have still to take the steps necessary to make the planned 2010 elections a credible, transparent and inclusive process ... The council (of EU member states) deems it necessary to extend the current (sanctions) by another year," the ministers said in a statement.

The statement also called on Myanmar's military regime to "engage more with the international community," including the United Nations, to open a dialogue with ethnic minorities and to release detained opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

The EU's sanctions include an arms embargo, restrictions on investment and non-humanitarian aid, asset freezes and visa bans on over 500 regime figures and their relatives, and trade and investment bans on over 80 businesses linked to the regime.

The EU is ready to lift or to reinforce the sanctions, depending on the Myanmar regime's actions, the statement said. (dpa)