The United States has eased financial sanctions on Myanmar to enable U.S.-based groups to do charitable work in the impoverished country, the Associated Press reports.
The first in a series of concessions offered to Myanmar in response to the country holding by-elections this month that were swept by the party established by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the move is intended to support development and humanitarian assistance work in the Southeast Asian country. For most of the past fifty years, Mynamar, also known as Burma, has been ruled by a military junta that kept it largely disconnected from the global economy, leaving the resource-rich nation among the world's poorest.
This week, the U.S. Treasury Department eased restrictions on financial transactions in support of private groups working in areas such as democracy-building, health, education, sports, and religion. While the U.S. has kept tough trade sanctions on the country in place, the Burmese government is planning to send a full ambassador to Washington for the first time in two decades and will ease restrictions on American investment and other financial services.
Although the military is still the dominant political force in the country and rights abuses are still reported in ethnic minority regions, Treasury has indicated that sanctions on the country could be eased even further if the Burmese government consolidates the reforms it has introduced.