The European Union has agreed to ease an 18-year arms embargo against Libya, going one step farther than the U.S. which dropped its trade embargo against the former pariah, but maintained a weapons ban.
The decision rewards the North &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2003/09/02/49742.html ' target=_blank>African country and its leader, Moammar Gadhafi, for giving up plans to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Italy, particularly, spearheaded the move to end the weapons embargo because of concerns over illegal immigration. It argued it should be allowed to supply Libya with high-tech equipment such as night-vision binoculars that could be used to stop hundreds of refugees who reach Italy's shores each month, informs CBC News.
Turning to East Asia, &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/89/356/9937_WTO.html ' target=_blank>European Union foreign ministers agreed to tighten sanctions on Burma's military leadership to protest its failure to improve human rights.
The ministers said conditions have not been met by Burma to improve its record and to release pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
In a statement they said the European Union will maintain the existing measures against Burma's military regime and tighten them. Approved measures include extending the visa ban on high ranking generals, says Voice Of America.
According to the Turkish Press, the EU move comes amid a rapid loosening of sanctions and a thaw in relations since last year, when Tripoli took responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to pay 2.7 billion dollars in compensation.
The rapprochement then gathered steam with Libya's surprise decision in December to renounce and dismantle its weapons of mass destruction under US, British and international supervision.