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Thein Sein, Shwe Mann removed from US sanction list

In recognition of their work for democratic reforms, the US has removed sanctions on Burmese President Thein Sein and Lower House of Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann to once-blocked property and assets, and allows Americans to do business with them.

Thein-Sein-in-Thailand-July-2012_sThe US Treasury department said the removals acknowledge the efforts of the pair on behalf of democratic reform.

"Thein Sein and Thura Shwe Mann have taken concrete steps to promote political reforms and human rights, and to move Burma away from repression and dictatorship toward democracy and freedom, warranting today's delisting action," said David Cohen, undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement released on Wednesday.

The US has said Congress will consider lifting the import ban on Burmese products sometime following the US elections in November. Lifting the ban would help jumpstart Burma’s economy

The Obama administration has kept many leading Burmese businessmen on its list of targeted sanctions, meaning US firms cannot work with them.

Thein Sein granted amnesty to hundreds of political prisoners over the past year and oversaw elections that saw Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of her opposition party win seats in parliament, Treasury noted.

It said Shwe Mann has supported Thein Sein's reforms, and the Burmese Parliament under his leadership has passed bills that granted the release of political prisoners and a law that allowed for the formation of unions, Treasury said.