Friday, July 20, 2012

US outlines two-pronged sanction path in editorial

Friday, 20 July 2012 12:51 Mizzima News    

An editorial labeled “Encouraging Further Change In Burma” appeared on the US government’s Voice of America website on Friday, noting that while direct investment sanctions were removed on July 11 to allow US businesses to invest in the country and to take part in Burma’s economic development, other underlying sanction authorities remain in place, including direct trade with the country.

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress earlier this year. Photo:

“The president has also signed a new executive order expanding the ability of the U.S. government to target sanctions against those individuals who violate human rights or threaten the peace, security and stability of Burma,” said the editorial.

“Further, U.S. business interests won’t be allowed to invest in entities owned by Burma’s Ministry of Defense or other state or non-state armed groups. Investors also will be required annually to file detailed, public reports on their activities as a way to promote greater transparency and encourage civil society there to partner with our companies toward responsible investment,” it said.

It said the US would call for further progress in democratization, a halt to hostilities in ethnic minority areas, the unconditional release of political prisoners and a cessation of Burma’s military trade with North Korea

“Burma has made progress since the formation of its new government in the spring of 2011. The beginning of a transition to civilian rule from a military-dominated system, holding of a more inclusive and credible Parliamentary by-election this April, the easing of some media restrictions and the freeing of more than 500 imprisoned political activists were important steps in the nation’s democratic transformation, and a sign that Burmese leaders have embarked on a path of greater openness, transparency and reform,” said the editorial.

It said, “The participation of American businesses in the Burmese economy has the potential to set a model for responsible investment and business operations, as well as encourage further change, promote economic development and contribute to the welfare of the Burmese people.”

The US Senate next week is expected to approve a three-year renewal of trade restrictions with Burma. US officials said President Obama could rescind the restrictions at any time.

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