WASHINGTON - The World Bank said on Thursday it was in the process of returning to Myanmar after 25 years, but the isolated Southeast Asian nation will first have to clear its arrears to global financial institutions before the bank resumes lending.
Other multilateral lenders such as the Asian Development Bank have also taken preliminary steps towards resuming activities, while the European Union has started to unwind sanctions against Myanmar, after a new civilian government began introducing democratic reforms in late 2011.
"We are encouraged by developments in Myanmar," said Pamela Cox, World Bank vice president for East Asia and Pacific.
"We have begun the process of re-engaging with the government to support reforms that will benefit all of the people of Myanmar, including the poor and vulnerable," she said in comments posted online.
The World Bank ceased operations in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in 1987. Foreign donors have been reluctant to help Myanmar, citing its human rights record, and many maintain economic and military sanctions on the country.