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Germany’s foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, left, talks with Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt, center, and European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva at the start of an EU foreign ministers meeting at the Kirchberg Conference Center in Luxembourg, Monday, April 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
LUXEMBOURG (AP) — The European Union is dropping its sanctions against Myanmar to support the country’s path of democratic reforms.

An EU diplomat said Monday the 27-nation bloc’s foreign ministers decided to lift all sanctions except for the sale of arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression.

The sanctions were suspended last April for one year after the country’s military rulers handed over power to a civilian government that launched democratic reforms. The measures had targeted more than 800 companies and nearly 500 people, also including the suspension of some development aid.

The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity pending the official announcement.

EU officials say the sanctions’ abolition will encourage firms and development organizations from the bloc — the world’s largest economy — to strengthen their engagement in Myanmar.

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