Friday, October 12, 2012

Top US official to visit Burma

Friday, 12 October 2012 12:54 Mizzima News

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will visit Burma on Wednesday during a five-country trip to Asia in which he will meet with President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Deputy US Secretary of State William Burns. Photo: US gov

It will be the highest-level US official visit to the country since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited in December, became the first US secretary of state to visit in more than 50 years.

The U.S. has since rolled back sanctions in response to democratic reforms in the military-dominated country.

In the latest step this week, President Barack Obama authorized U.S. support for international development banks to restart lending to Burma.

The legislation will allow the US to back international financial institutions that support Burma’s economic and social development.

The legislation, rushed through Congress last month, comes on the heels of the US lifting financial and other sanctions on Burma in an effort to support President Thein Sein’s move toward democracy after decades of military rule.

The move will allow international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other groups to rapidly move into Burma to offer development loans to boost the economy and upgrade the country’s inadequate infrastructure.

“Implementation of this law will provide the United States with the ability to shape the policies and activities of these institutions in a way that advances reform, good governance, transparency and accountability in Burma,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin.

Washington lifted sanctions on American investment in Burma in July, enabling a major US trade delegation to visit the country.

US businesses have began to show interest in investing in Burma as the country is even now considering its new foreign investment law, which is working its way through Parliament.

Before visiting Burma, Burns will travel to Japan and South Korea. He will also visit India.

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