David Cameron has hailed Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi as a "figure of brilliance" who should steer the West's response to the opening up of Burma.
The Prime Minister was speaking after EU leaders in Brussels vowed to ease EU "restrictive measures" following her release after seven years of house arrest in November 2010.
A summit statement said important changes taking place in Burma "are opening up important new prospects for developing the relationship between the European Union and Burma".
Mr Cameron commented: "I spoke to Aung Sang Suu Kyi at the weekend and asked her about how quickly she thought the re-engagement process should take place between countries in the West in the EU, with the Burmese regime.
"I think it is very important that we listen carefully to her, an absolute figure of brilliance in terms of what she has been through and what she is now going to achieve in that country.
"I think the message is that, yes, we should be engaging, but we should do it in stages and we should look very carefully to make sure that the by-elections that they are going to hold are fair, that prisoners go on being released, that they go on opening up and moving towards democracy.
"And as they do that I think there are opportunities for the EU and I'm delighted that the council (summit) has made such a clear statement tonight."
The EU statement said: "We will continue to ease the EU's restrictive measures if pour expectations are met. The members of the European Council reiterate the EU's readiness to assist Burma in advancing reforms."