News / Asia

US Announces Limited Easing of Sanctions Against 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 Yangon. The Obama administration has support from key Republicans to restore full
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 Yangon. The Obama administration has support from key Republicans to restore full

The United States has eased one of its many sanctions against Burma in response to democratic reforms made by the country's military-backed government.

The State Department said late Monday it is lifting opposition to assessments of Burma by international financial institutions. The move will make it easier for the country to secure help from organizations such as the World Bank or the IMF.

Washington said it is encouraged by Burma's recent democratic reforms, including its decision to allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to run in upcoming elections.

Burma's Election Commission on Monday granted official approval to the Nobel Laureate's candidacy for the April parliamentary bi-election.

The State Department also praised Burma for releasing political prisoners, implementing broader civil liberties and holding peace talks with ethnic rebel groups. In addition, it praised Burma for "taking steps" to address human trafficking concerns.

But U.S. officials insist that Burma must continue its reforms before other sanctions are lifted. The economic, political and trade sanctions have been in place for decades because of human rights abuses by the country's former military government, which stepped down last March.

Nicholas Farrelly, a Burma analyst at the Australian National University, says the U.S. decision will likely embolden those within the government to continue making reforms. "They will feel justified that some of the risks that they've been taking over recent months are now starting to generate a positive response internationally, and that will likely only continue this process of reform and reinforce some of the decisions being made," he said.

The April elections are seen as a key test of whether the country's new military-backed civilian government can continue its path toward democracy.

On Sunday, A United Nations human rights envoy said Burma is considering allowing foreign observers to monitor the April elections. Tomas Ojea Quintana lauded the recent reforms but warned of "a risk of backtracking on the progress achieved thus far." He said the elections are a "key test" of the regimes commitment to reform.

The by-election is being held to fill 48 parliamentary seats vacated by lawmakers who were appointed to the Cabinet and other posts.  Even if the NLD sweeps the polls, it will have minimal power. The 440-seat lower house of Parliament is heavily weighted with military appointees and allies of the former military junta.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid