News / Asia

US Senate to Consider Democracy Leader's Views on Burma Sanctions

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) talks to reporters after meeting Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in Yangon, January 16, 2012
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) talks to reporters after meeting Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in Yangon, January 16, 2012

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that U.S. officials will be heavily influenced by the views of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they consider whether to ease economic sanctions on the Southeast Asian nation.

McConnell, for decades a leading force behind the sanctions, also said he sees definite evidence of reform in Burma. He spoke to reporters in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw, where he traveled for talks with President Thein Sein.

The senator met a day earlier with Aung San Suu Kyi, who is expected to enter parliament in a by-election in April. He said her views are very important.

"Well first, obviously, Aung San Suu Kyi’s view about the appropriateness of lifting sanctions is something that will carry a lot of weight with members of the U.S. government, including myself. So how she feels about the direction of reform will have a lot of influence on us in the United States related to the decision to lift sanctions," he said.

McConnell, who leads the opposition Republican Party in the Senate, said the decision on sanctions will also be influenced by the results of the April 1 by-elections and whether the government is able to extend a recent cease-fire with Karen rebels to other ethnic groups.

He declined to speculate on the motives behind the reforms, which have been introduced by a new pro-military government that replaced a long-ruling junta in March 2010. But McConnell said there can be no doubt that the country is undergoing real change.

"Oh gosh, I don’t know the various factors that have been at work here to bring about reform in this country," he said. "I’m not going to judge what brought that about. But it’s happening. By any objective standard, it’s happening. If the sanctions were helpful, then that’s a good thing."

In its most recent reform act, the government last week released 651 political prisoners. The United States immediately responded by announcing an upgrade in diplomatic relations.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid