News / Asia

US Ambassador to Burma Sees Growing Ties Between Countries

Derek Mitchell, the U.S ambassador to Burma, talks to journalists during the first press conference after he became ambassador at the U.S Embassy in Rangoon, Burma, July 20, 2012.Derek Mitchell, the U.S ambassador to Burma, talks to journalists during the first press conference after he became ambassador at the U.S Embassy in Rangoon, Burma, July 20, 2012.
x
Derek Mitchell, the U.S ambassador to Burma, talks to journalists during the first press conference after he became ambassador at the U.S Embassy in Rangoon, Burma, July 20, 2012.
Derek Mitchell, the U.S ambassador to Burma, talks to journalists during the first press conference after he became ambassador at the U.S Embassy in Rangoon, Burma, July 20, 2012.
VOA News
The U.S. ambassador to Burma says there is "excellent momentum" in the relationship between the United States and Burma, but acknowledged there are enormous challenges ahead.
 
Derek Mitchell told VOA that his new appointment demonstrates Washington's commitment to building the relationship. Mitchell arrived in Burma earlier this month as the first U.S. ambassador to that country in 22 years.
 
"My appointment, whether it is me or anyone else - the fact that there is an ambassador for the first time in 22 years - I think speaks to the commitment now of this administration, of the United States generally, even our Congress, to take the relationship to another level,” said Mitchell.
 
The United States has been re-engaging Burma after a new, nominally civilian government took over in March of last year and began implementing reforms. Mitchell said his office would be responding to positive changes in Burma.
 
"Clearly, we have said from the start - really a year ago, we can even start in 2009 - that we are going to be responding to changes that occur on the ground,” he said. “That we will be responding for action with action. And we have seen continuing action, continuing momentum towards reform. And I think we are trying to keep up with that."
 
Mitchell acknowledged that Burma faces many challenges to becoming a democratic country.
 
"It is premature to say that all is well or that this process is inevitably going to lead towards a positive or stable solution. As you lay out, there are enormous challenges that lay ahead,” said Mitchell. “Nobody has any illusions about the challenges to come, or the challenges of keeping unity or democracy in line. The key is to keep moving in the right direction. And move step by step."
 
Mitchell said he has many goals in his new role, including traveling the country to begin to build a better relationship.
 
"I want to get around the country, meet all different types of people from every different section of Burma. I think that is very important to build that understanding because we have been separated for so long," he said.
 
Mitchell said he also will work to encourage an open and free media in Burma, and help to facilitate more military contacts between the United States and Burma.
 
Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced it is easing restrictions on U.S. companies interested in doing business in Burma. A White House statement said easing such sanctions will provide immediate incentives for reformers and benefit the Burmese people.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid