News / Asia

US Senators Signal Conditional Support for Lifting Burma Sanctions

U.S. Senator John McCain (2nd R) speaks as Senators Joseph Lieberman, Sheldon Whitehouse (L) and Kelly Ayotte (2nd L) look on during a press briefing in Hanoi January 19, 2012, one of the stops on their visit to Asia.
U.S. Senator John McCain (2nd R) speaks as Senators Joseph Lieberman, Sheldon Whitehouse (L) and Kelly Ayotte (2nd L) look on during a press briefing in Hanoi January 19, 2012, one of the stops on their visit to Asia.
Ron Corben

The United States is ready to lift economic sanctions against Burma if the country’s civilian government presses ahead on political reforms including free and fair elections this April.

The call was made by a visiting delegation of senior U.S. senators, led by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, who made a stop in Bangkok on their way to Burma.  Before the United States makes a final decision, the senators said they who say they will also look to democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Senator McCain, while remaining cautious over the reform process, said a decision on sanctions lay with the international community and judgment on the reform progress in Burma.

“There is no doubt in my mind, absolutely certain that if this is a free and fair election, there will be no problem coordinating with every other country in the world to bring the sanctions to a close," McCain said. "I have to say that I am still a bit skeptical, not a lot, a bit skeptical, but I will certainly try to keep an open mind as we go through this process.”

The delegation will hold talks with government leader Burmese President Thein Sein and pro-democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma is to hold by-elections for the national parliament in April in which Aung San Suu Kyi is registered to stand as a candidate.

The U.S. imposed sanctions against Burma in 2003. They include bans on imports from Burma and a severing of financial services ties. In 2007, the bans were extended after the military suppressed street protests.

These included the freezing of individual overseas assets and those providing “material support” to Burma’s government. New investment by U.S. individuals and entities was also banned.

Some countries, such as Australia, as well as the European Union are now taking steps to ease sanctions after the release of hundreds of political prisoners. But other prisoners remain detained.

The U.S. government has recently upgraded diplomatic relations by restoring the post of ambassador following the prisoner release and a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Senator Joseph Lieberman said the U.S. would be looking to Aung San Suu Kyi for guidance over the timing of an easing of sanctions against Burma, also known as Myanmar.

“Our reaction to what happens in Myanmar will be greatly affected by the reaction of Aung San Suu Kyi. In other words we have great admiration for her not only for her but trust in her so I wouldn’t say we were giving her total veto but to the extent that she has confidence in the process we will have confidence in the process of change in Myanmar and as a result we will lift sanctions and grow closer to the government.”

In an interview this week with The Washington Post newspaper, Burma’s President Thein Sein, called for the West to lift sanctions. The president said his government had met international calls for the release of political prisoners, holding of elections and granting greater political freedom to Aung San Suu Kyi.  

But Suu Kyi in a recent interview said the U.S. should lift sanctions when “the time is right” and if Burma’s government had met the conditions for their removal.


You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More