Arpil 2 - Expectations rise for an easing of sanctions following landmark elections in Myanmar. Arnold Gay reports.
20-year-old sanctions against Myanmar may be eased or lifted in as early as three weeks, following landmark elections in the country. Assuming the polls are judged free and fair, the EU meets in Brussels on April 23, to discuss easing the sanctions. The U.S., Canada and Australia are also poised to review similar restrictions. British diplomat Robert Cooper says he's encouraged by what he saw. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH DIPLOMAT ROBERT COOPER SAYING: "We were on the whole positively impressed by the effort people were making to be helpful and transparent." It will ultimately boil down to approval from this woman, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who must give her blessings to give the polls credibility. Unofficial results give her a seat in parliament, with her party, the National League of Democracy, claiming at least 19 out of 44 seats contested, so far. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER, AUNG SAN SUU KYI SAYING: "We will tout all of the irregularities that took place, not in any spirit of vengeance or anger. But of course, we do not think that these should be overlooked. We do not think that such practices should be encouraged in any way." Official results are not due for a few more days, but Myanmar's Asian neighbours are offering cautious support. Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) Secetary-General, Surin Pitsuwan, says ASEAN hopes this will bring Myanmar back into the global fold. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL SURIN PITSUWAN, SAYING: "We hope that this will contribute to a more effective integration of Myanmar into the global community and Myanmar as an ASEAN, will be able to work on other issues, that would be more meaningful and contributing to the well-being of the people of Myanmar, rather than being stuck on the issue of instability and lack of political reconciliation inside Myanmar." Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura says Tokyo stands ready to resume development aid. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OSAMU FUJIMURA SAYING: "As we look towards resuming full supportive measures, we are currently looking into the current state of our support for Myanmar. In that context, we welcome this election result, and take it under consideration as an important matter." A lifting of sanctions is expected to unleash a wave of investment in the impoverished but resource-rich country that borders India and China. Asian and European businessmen have already descended on Yangon, hunting for investment opportunities in the country of over 60 million people. Arnold Gay, Reuters.