News

Clinton Announces Burma Rapprochement

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces the easing some U.S. sanctions against Burma, April 4, 2012.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces the easing some U.S. sanctions against Burma, April 4, 2012.

The United States is relaxing some long-standing sanctions on Burma in hopes of encouraging further reforms after landmark elections Sunday in the Southeast Asian nation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Washington will soon nominate an ambassador to Burma. It will also establish an in-country U.S. Agency for International Development mission to support efforts by the United Nations Development Program.

In other steps, Washington will enable U.S. private relief groups to carry out development activities in Burma. Select Burmese officials and members of parliament will be allowed to travel to the United States. Washington will also ease restrictions on U.S. financial and investment services to help accelerate economic modernization and political reform.

Still much to be done

But Clinton warns that Burma's reform process still "has a long way to go," and that the country's future is "neither clear nor certain." She said the United States will continue easing sanctions as long as the Burmese government continues making reforms.

"We will continue to monitor developments closely and meet, as I said when I was there, action with action," she said. "We will continue to seek improvements in human rights including the unconditional release of all remaining political prisoners and the lifting of conditions on all those who have been released.  We will continue our support for the development of a vibrant civil society, which we think will greatly add to the reform of the economy and the society."

On Burma's decades-long conflict with various ethnic minority groups, Clinton said the U.S. will continue calling for national reconciliation. One of those groups, the Karen National Union, said Thursday they have re-opened talks with the government aimed at ending the world's longest running armed conflict.

Burma's leading opposition party won more than 40 parliament seats in by-elections Sunday and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was elected to parliament after spending most of the past 20 years in detention.

Senator McCain's reaction

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator John McCain, who backed sanctions against Burma's former military government, told VOA the elections were "generally fair," despite numerous reports of voting irregularities. He also said the elections represent an important step in Burma's path toward democracy.

"I think there were significant problems with the election, many of which were pointed out by the party of Aung San Suu Kyi. And it could have been better. But it was a dramatic improvement from what were totally corrupt elections in the past," said McCain.

McCain said lawmakers will consider a further loosening of sanctions when Congress returns from its recess in May.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs