Myanmar urges millions of exiles to return
12, May, AFP
Myanmar's president has urged the nation's millions-strong diaspora
to return, state media reported Saturday, as the country seeks skilled
workers to help smooth the passage of reform.
Several million people fled Myanmar's corrupted economy and political
repression under army rule, leaving the nation desperately short of
professionals to help it manage massive economic and political change.
Pledging to help emigres establish businesses as resource-rich
Myanmar braces for a surge of foreign investment and an expected
economic boom, President Thein Sein asked migrants who left for "various
reasons" to return.
"Offers are being constantly extended to Myanmar citizens who have
been abroad for various reasons to come back home," he was quoted as
saying by English-language state newspaper the New Light of Myanmar
"Those who were abroad include technicians, experts, businessmen as
well as those who are engaged in different careers.
"The state would render necessary assistance to them if they have any
difficulties in doing business in the nation." Many exiles have been
emboldened to return by a surprising series of political and economic
reforms since Thein Sein took office last year.The diasporaa significant
proportion of the roughly 60 million population include skilled workers
who have made successful lives overseas.
The new military-backed civilian government that took power last year
has surprised observers with a series of conciliatory gestures to its
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi took a seat in parliament after
her pro-democracy party swept April by-elections and hundreds of
political prisoners have been freed, although many others remain behind
The European Union has responded by suspending for one year a wide
range of trade, economic and individual sanctions, although it left
intact an arms embargo. But the United States maintained its main
sanctions on Myanmar, hoping to use them to press the regime to end
ongoing ethnic violence, which has marred the regime's reformist image.