New EU peace center urges end to sectarian violence in Myanmar

Featured South East Asia - November 5th, 2012

The European Union has called for an end to sectarian violence in Myanmar and pledged aid as the country seeks to move further from its past under military junta rule.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, speaking at a newly established peace center during a visit to Myanmar, urged an end to the conflict between Muslims and Buddhists that has killed over 100 people and displaced thousands of families, Reuters reports.

“We are deeply concerned by these events and by the consequences for the reforms and democratization of the country. We hope that all religious leaders will call for restraint,” Mr. Barroso said in a speech.

Mr. Barroso, who also met with President Thein Sein, said that the EU is prepared to pour in aid worth 4 million euros ($5.14 million) for immediate humanitarian needs, provided access to affected areas is guaranteed.

The EU has contributed 700,000 euros to starting up the peace center designed to hold dialogues between all parties in the peace process. The Commission also pledged 30 million euros in aid by 2013 for Myanmar’s peace process.

Sanctions on the Southeast Asian country have been eased following rapid economic and democratic change propelled by President Thein Sein. The European Union won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.