Australia Eases Sanctions Against Myanmar

Published January 9, 2012 12:18PM (EST)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Australia says it is easing some restrictions on members of Myanmar's ruling elite in response to political reforms by the military-backed government.

Australia's Foreign Affairs Department says Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced the move Monday during a visit to Indonesia.

Australia bars visits by senior Myanmar officials and bans financial transactions with them. Like other Western nations, it imposed the sanctions due to abuses by the previous military government.

The new policy removes former Cabinet ministers who have left politics and tourism officials from the sanctions list.

Recent reforms such as legalization of labor unions have also won the support of the pro-democracy movement of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party plans to contest by-elections in April.

By Salon Staff

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