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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid