People displaced by the recent violence in Pauktaw pass the
time at their shelters at Owntaw refugee camp for Muslims
outside Sittwe. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called
today for an end to sectarian killings in Myanmar, following
talks with the president of the nation which is emerging from
decades of brutal military rule.
In western Myanmar, 89 people have been killed in clashes
between Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingyas, according to
the latest official toll covering the last 10 days of
October. Many thousands more have been displaced by the
"We are deeply concerned by these events and by the
consequences for the reforms and democratisation of the
country. We hope that all religious leaders will call for
restraint," Barroso said in a speech, a copy of which was
released in Brussels.
"The EU stands ready to mobilise 4 million euros ($5.14
million) for immediate humanitarian needs, provided access to
the affected areas is guaranteed," Barroso added.
He was speaking in Myanmar at a newly established peace
centre designed to aid dialogue between all parties in
Myanmar's peace process. During his visit to the country he
also held talks with President Thein Sein.
The European Union, winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize,
has contributed 700,000 euros to starting up the peace
centre, to be followed by further funds.
In 2013, the bloc will contribute 30 million euros to
Myanmar's ethnic peace process, a Commission statement said.
After five decades of brutal junta rule, Myanmar has stunned
the world with rapid economic and democratic change, which
has led to an easing of sanctions imposed by the United
States and the European Union to encourage further reforms.