News / Asia

US Considers New Burma Outreach Amid Election Concerns

A senior State Department official said Friday a high-level U.S. envoy may visit Burma in the coming days to discuss that country's "deeply flawed" election plans.  But there are conditions for such a visit.

Officials here say Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs Kurt Campbell may visit Burma on his current Asia trip, provided he is allowed to meet Burmese opposition figures along with officials of the military government.

Campbell became the highest-level U.S. official to visit Burma in several years last November, when he met with government officials and detained Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.  That trip was part of the Obama administration's effort to engage the isolated Southeast Asian State.

The United States in recent days has stepped up its criticism of rules for promised elections in Burma that effectively exclude Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party, the NLD.

But a senior official to spoke to reporters said Campbell, currently in Manila, is prepared to visit Burma early next week -- on condition that he be allowed to visit Aung San Suu Kyi, other NLD officials and ethnic group representatives along with military authorities.

The comments here came a day after the NLD announced it would disband rather than submit to government terms for the upcoming elections that would require it to accept the nullification of results of the country's last elections, in 1990, won by the NLD.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley called the election rules "deeply flawed" and "patently unfair" toward the opposition. "For more than 20 years the NLD and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, have served as beacons of hope in Burma and as an inspiration to all those who strive for democracy and justice around the world.  And we applaud the resolve of the NLD to continue to working for the people of Burma. We will continue to work with all those, including the NLD, who are dedicated to building a better future for their country," he said.

Crowley said it is highly regrettable that Burmese authorities created circumstances that prompted the NLD to take such a step.

The NLD won the 1990 election by a wide margin but was barred by the military from taking power.  Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Laureate, has been under detention most of the time since then.

Earlier this week, the State Department expressed skepticism about an announcement that Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein and other Cabinet ministers were resigning their military posts, apparently to run for election as nominal civilians.

Current election laws reserve one-quarter of the seats in a new parliament for the military.  The decision by the more than 20 Cabinet members to quit their military posts is widely seen as an effort to insure that the military controls an even larger portion of legislative seats.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs