News / Asia

US Lawmaker Notes Progress in Burma

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, left, listens to Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi talk to journalists during a press conference after their meeting at her home in Rangoon, January 16, 2012.
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, left, listens to Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi talk to journalists during a press conference after their meeting at her home in Rangoon, January 16, 2012.
Michael Bowman

A top U.S. lawmaker is applauding political reforms in Burma, but says more change is needed.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently returned from a trip to Burma, where he met with democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein.

The Senate's top Republican took to the chamber floor to deliver a hopeful and cautiously-optimistic message on Burma, which he described as having been one of the world's "most isolated and oppressed" nations.

"Many of us wondered if things would ever change in Burma.  After my recent visit, I am pleased to say that change is clearly in the air," said McConnell.  "It appears Burma has made some progress towards democracy in the past six months, made more than it has in decades.  I can tell you this is welcome news."

Mitch McConnell is a lead author of annual bills imposing sanctions on Burma.  He praised the country's transition toward civilian rule and the freeing of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent much of the past two decades under house arrest.  The two met last week in Rangoon.

"By her courage and her patience, that justice delayed would not be justice denied, Aung San Suu Kyi has kept the hope of freedom in her country alive," added McConnell.  "Never did I think I would get to meet the Nobel laureate in person.  And, Mr. President, it was quite a moment."

McConnell said Burma's government has taken "undeniably positive steps towards reform," and endorsed the exchange of ambassadors between Washington and Rangoon, but he said more must be done.

"The government of Burma still has a substantial way to go to achieve real and lasting reform," said McConnell.  "I do not support, and I do not think the [Obama] administration would support lifting the [U.S.] sanctions that have been imposed unless there is much further progress."

McConnell listed upcoming parliamentary elections as an important test of that progress, and urged a full reconciliation between Burma's government and the country's ethnic minorities.  He also demanded full disclosure of Burma's dealings with North Korea.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post newspaper, Burma's president argued his country has complied with Western demands, adding he would like to see U.S. sanctions eased and eventually dropped.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid