Camp David, Maryland (ANTARA News/AFP) - G8 leaders on Saturday praised the "remarkable efforts" of President Thein Sein and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in delivering democratic reforms to Myanmar.

The positive comments come just days after the United States eased sanctions on the South Asian state, formerly known as Burma, in an effort to encourage it to embrace fundamental political change.

"We recognize the need to secure lasting and irreversible reform, and pledge our support to existing initiatives, particularly those which focus on peace in ethnic area, national reconciliation, and entrenching democracy," leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized economies said in a joint statement after a summit near Washington.

"We also stress the need to cooperate to further enhance aid coordination among international development partners of Burma/Myanmar and conduct investment in a manner beneficial to the people of Burma/Myanmar," they added.

In earlier remarks at the Camp David presidential retreat where the summit took place, Obama expressed similar sentiment on behalf of all participants.

"Our hope is that this process will continue and we`re going to do everything we can to encourage that process."

Obama on Thursday eased investment sanctions on Myanmar and named the first US ambassador to the country in 22 years, seeking to reward an easing of "iron fist" rule.

But seeking maximum leverage on Myanmar`s government and to preserve his options in case of "backsliding," he maintained wider US sanctions on Myanmar and figures linked to the former junta.

The US government will now license certain types of investment in financial services and allow American businesses to work in Myanmar, though will ensure that those who abuse human rights and seek to slow progress do not benefit.

It will maintain restrictions on investment with the military, which has deep commercial interests in the country`s economy.

Thein Sein surprised many US observers by initiating political reforms designed to break Myanmar`s isolation, and Aung San Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy secured 43 of the 44 seats it contested in parliamentary by-elections in April.

But it remains a minority, with many seats in both chambers reserved for unelected military officials.

As well as promoting further political reforms, Washington also wants Myanmar to release more political prisoners. (*)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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