[Mr. Mike Hancock in the Chair] — Burma

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 9th December 2009.

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Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Conservative, Ribble Valley 9:30 am, 9th December 2009

Absolutely. I will refer to that later.

Despite being detained, Aung San Suu Kyi has courageously and consistently called for dialogue with her captors. On 20 May this year, from inside Insein prison, she said:

"It is still not too late to achieve national reconciliation."

In September, she wrote to the head of the regime, Senior General Than Shwe, proposing dialogue. May I ask the Minister what the United Kingdom and the European Union are doing to support Aung San Suu Kyi's call for dialogue and to urge the regime to come to the table? Two months ago on 9 October, she met the British ambassador for the first time in at least six years. What was the outcome of that meeting and what attempts are being made by the United Kingdom to secure further such meetings?

Aung San Suu Kyi has stated clearly to the regime that she would like to work with it to

"create conditions conducive to lifting of sanctions on Burma".

Let us be clear that the conditions conducive to lifting sanctions do not yet exist. The United States has made it clear that it will maintain existing sanctions while pursing high-level engagement, until there are clear and tangible signs of meaningful progress. Does the Minister agree with me that the European Union should not lift any sanctions unless and until all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, are released; a nationwide ceasefire against ethic nationalities is declared; and a meaningful and irreversible process of tripartite dialogue between the regime, the National League for Democracy and the ethnic nationalities is begun? Furthermore, does he agree that unless the regime ends its campaign of brutality against the ethnic nationalities, the next European Union common position on Burma should tighten sanctions, including the introduction of new targeted financial sanctions such as a ban on insurance companies, which would affect some of the sectors from which the regime benefits most?