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Germany's Chancellor Merkel vows backing for Myanmar in return for minority rights

Published on Sep 3, 2014 9:18 PM
 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets the President of Myanmar Thein Sein on his arrival for a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday, Sept 3, 2014. Dr Merkel on Wednesday pledged further economic support for Myanmar if it holds fair elections next year and does more to protect ethnic minorities. -- PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday pledged further economic support for Myanmar if it holds fair elections next year and does more to protect ethnic minorities.

After talks with Myanmar's President Thein Sein, Dr Merkel told a joint news conference that Germany was ready to boost investment and development aid but would keep a close eye on human rights in the country, which is still emerging from decades of military rule and international isolation.

"Myanmar is a country with many ethnic groups and for economic growth, peace is of course required, and peace requires compromise and tolerance with regard to minorities," she said.

Dr Merkel hailed "democratic progress" in the South-east Asian nation, notably in the area of press freedom, but said Berlin was watching preparations for parliamentary elections due in 2015. "We expressed our hope that the elections will be free, fair and transparent," she said of her talks with Mr Thein Sein, a former general whose quasi-civilian regime is now pursuing reforms.

 
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