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Switzerland lifts Myanmar sanctions

Geneva - Switzerland on Wednesday became the latest country to ease sanctions against Myanmar in a show of support for sweeping reforms since the end of direct army rule last year.

Bern will lift all sanctions with the exception of an embargo on arms and other goods liable to be used in repression, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.

“The Federal Council (government) welcomes the positive developments witnessed in recent months in Myanmar and intends to support the reform efforts with the partial lifting of sanctions,” SECO said in a statement.

The decision comes into force on Thursday, but will be rescinded if the political situation in Myanmar deteriorates sharply.

Ministers made the decision to ease sanctions at meetings held on April 18 and 25 before asking the Federal Department of Economic Affairs to draw up a plan.

Last month the European Union responded to what it said were “historic changes” in Myanmar by suspending for one year a wide range of trade, economic and individual sanctions while leaving intact an arms embargo.

Canada and Australia have also recently eased punitive measures and Japan waived $3.7-billion of Myanmar's debt. - Sapa-AFP

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