Saturday, August 29, 2009

US set to announce new Burma policy

by Mungpi
Friday, 28 August 2009 20:25

New Delhi (Mizzima) - United States is set to announce its new policy on Burma as the Obama administration is on the verge of completing its review, visiting Congress staff members on Friday told leaders of Burma’s opposition party – the National League for Democracy.

Three staff members of the House Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Congress on Friday told leaders of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party that the new policy review is to be completed and announced soon.

“The officials said, however, that the new policy, under review, is unlikely to bring about a drastic change in the current policy,” Ohn Kyaing, a member of the NLD’s information committee, told Mizzima.

Lynne Weil, Communications Director, Jessica Lee, Professional Staff Member, Dennis Halpin, Professional Staff Member of the US Congress on Thursday arrived in Rangoon and on Friday met four Central Executive Committee members of the NLD along with the party’s information committee members.

“During the meeting, the officials mainly asked us our views on Burmese politics and we told them as we view the situation,” Ohn Kyaing said.

The three US officials, during their stay in Burma, will also meet US embassy officials, non-governmental organisations, and US aid recipients in the country. They will also travel to Cyclone Nargis-affected regions.

The meeting on Friday is the second that the NLD leaders have had with US officials in a month. Earlier this month, Senator Jim Webb visited Burma and met NLD leaders in Naypyitaw as well as Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.

Following Webb’s visit, there has been widespread speculation among Burma watchers and observers over the possibilities of a change in Washington’s policy towards Burma.

The US State Department on Wednesday said the policy review on Burma is to be completed soon but failed to explain whether the new policy would favour economic sanctions or favour engagement.

NLD’s spokesperson Nyan Win after his meeting with the visiting US Congress officials told Mizzima that the NLD is “happy and satisfied with the meeting” but did not elaborate.

The officials, according to sources, will conclude their visit to Burma in Sunday and will also visit other regional countries with an objective of reviewing US public diplomacy and assistance programmes.