Myanmar Penalties to Stay in Place: U.S.

The United States intends to maintain punitive economic measures against Myanmar, but would react favorably to substantive policy changes by the country's recently empowered, ostensibly nonmilitary leadership, the Obama administration's recently appointed delegate to the South Asian state said on Wednesday (see GSN, July 22).

U.S. special envoy Derek Mitchell noted misgivings over Burmese-North Korean defense ties, the Associated Press reported (see related GSN story, today). Burmese dissidents have accused the nation's military junta of secretly initiating a nuclear weapons program with technical support from Pyongyang. However, nuclear specialists have debated the technical implications of supporting documentation smuggled from the country, according to previous reports. Myanmar has repeatedly denied it is seeking a nuclear deterrent.

Doubts persist in the former Burmese capital of Yangon over the state's dedication to popular rule, but hopes for a new direction have increased, said Mitchell, who held talks with democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi on a six-day visit to the country. The U.S. official said he had urged Myanmar's government to release roughly 2,000 more individuals detained for their views, engage its domestic critics in talks and probe violations of civil liberties (Associated Press/Miami Herald, Sept. 14).

September 14, 2011
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The United States intends to maintain punitive economic measures against Myanmar, but would react favorably to substantive policy changes by the country's recently empowered, ostensibly nonmilitary leadership, the Obama administration's recently appointed delegate to the South Asian state said on Wednesday (see GSN, July 22).

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