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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid