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At Summit, Asean Leaders Want End to Burma Sanctions

Supporters celebrate as election results are revealed on the screen in front of Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) head office in Yangon April 1, 2012.

Asean leaders are pushing for the international community to lift sanctions on one of its poorest member nations, Burma, as they meet in Phnom Penh.

Burma held elections on Sunday that were monitored by Asean members and saw gains by the opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi. Burmese President Thein Sein told reporters in Phnom Penh Tuesday the elections had been a success.

Now some Asean leaders say it is time for the US and other Western nations to lift long-running sanctions.

“They believe the lifting of the sanction could contribute positively to the democratic process and economic development,” said Kao Kim Hourn, secretary of state for the Cambodian Foreign Ministry, following the first day of the two-day summit.

Indonesia’s foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, called sanctions against countries “inhumane” and often do not hurt their intended target. “It’s time” to lift sanctions, he said.