No Going Back on Burma Sanctions: Kurt Campbell

Aung Din, the executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, has criticized the US decision to lift sanctions on Burma. (PHOTO: THE IRRAWADDY)

WASHINGTON—Despite facing strong criticism from a section of the “Friends of Burma” group, the Obama administration has categorically ruled out any reversal of its decision to lift sanctions on Burma, arguing that it is being taken judiciously and is in the best interests of the Burmese people.

“We believe that we have approached this problem with great care and responsibly. We think the step-by-step process has drawn wide support both in the business community and the international community,” said Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell.

“On the particulars associated with sanctions-easing and the economic steps that we are proposing between the United States and Burma/Myanmar, I think we have done this in a very careful step-by-step, judicious way in very close consultation with key stakeholders in the Congress,” he said.

“We’ve had very detailed conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi and her interlocutors, as well as those in ethnic minority communities,” he said.

Campbell said the US steps in this regard are carefully coordinated not only domestically but with its international partners, including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. “I think this process has been done very responsibly and will continue accordingly,” the US official said.

The statement came after the US Campaign for Burma (USCB) came out openly against the decision of the US government to lift sanctions from Burma.

“The lifting of sanctions on Burma de-legitimizes ethnic nationalities’ demands for a cessation of hostilities in Kachin State, and prematurely rewards the Burmese regime while the military undertakes a clear escalation of violence,” said USCB’s Aung Din.

“The absence of sanctions removes the motivation for the government to engage in further and serious negotiations with ethnic groups, as well as political reform leading towards the 2015 election. The removal of sanctions condones the violence, exacerbates the conflict, destabilizes the negotiations, and sets back the peace process,” he said.

“The United States Congress and administration will be responsible for generously rewarding the regime if the war in Kachin State and human rights abuses in ethnic areas do not end, hundreds of remaining political prisoners are not released, and political settlements between the regime and ethnic resistance groups are not realized,” Aung Din charged.

In a statement, USCB expressed its disappointment over the US Congress decision to fast-track the passing of legislation that authorizes the government to provide financial assistance and loans to Burma through international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.

“After that, there will be no sanctions imposed on Burma,” USCB said. “These moves follow the lifting of two major sanctions: a ban on US investment in Burma, and a ban on financial transactions between the US and Burma.”

But the USCB said the situation on the ground does not justify the lifting of all sanctions.

“Some political prisoners have been released conditionally, but still more than 300 political prisoners remain incarcerated. Some Burmese activists in exile are encouraged to return home, but Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min, a human rights lawyer who returned to Burma earlier this year after three years in exile, was sentenced to six months in prison for trump-up charges,” it said, adding that significant numbers of ethnic resistance groups have entered into precarious ceasefire agreements with the government.


11 Responses to No Going Back on Burma Sanctions: Kurt Campbell

  1. Lets wait and see whether America and the West have been cheated by the Myanmar government. The Constitution does not guarantee for a genuine democracy and rights abuses have been still rampant in the ethnic areas. Cronies are controlling every corner of the economy. I do not know what kind of democracy US is seeing in Myanmar. Democracy for the ex-generals and their cronies? Absolutely. Democracy for all the citizens of Myanmar? The answer is, “One million miles still away from today”. Democracy for the Myanmars may be the right phrase, not for the ethnics.

    • Cheated!

      They could not give a toss.

      All they want is to come in get the land, land, land, land, land and slave labour and get all the meagre wages back by pushing  surplus consumer goods. 

      The shiny  Burmese “Ex-pat”s will be great help on the last point as well as the Coke and Pepsi ad’s.  Once it is fashionable to own an iPAD, people are snared for good. 

      Burma , closed, is already big on Valentine Day. Any little gimmick will get these Burmese reeling to work day and night on Yaba for a dollar day to buy Coke. Big worry for Thailand, short of Yaba!

       Democracy, It is just a code word.

  2. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Obama Administration has made the right decision in lifting sanction on Burma up request of Burmese people fighting head to head with the military rule to bring back democracy in Burma. No one is more authentic than the relentless freedom fighters in Burma to make any call as to what international friends of Burma should do on Burma. This is historic turning point of Burma that will count down live and dead of the victory over a battle of between good and evil, love over hate and democracy over tyranny.  America has been standing up for Burma in the right direction, throwing all its support behind the people.

    The last thing Burmese people ever want is these senseless arrogant people like Aung Din, opposing the will of the people whom he claim that he has been working on their behalf for their freedom, an outrage lies and disgrace. Every one either friends of Burma or Burmese people in the battle field of freedom of Burma must play their respective roles very strictly in a disciplined manner to triumph in this struggle for democracy in Burma. US campaign for Burma just forgot its role as a supporter, derailing from its main mission that can be considered as friendly fire. It’s got to stop that friendly fire before no one gets hurt. Ko Aung Din, you need to take time to think straight as to which side you are on and what role you are in this unfinished struggle of democracy in Burma. 

    The chance of choice for Burmese people for their own destiny has just been earned in this struggle after over two decades of their fight under the leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. No one should undermine their judgment call but to support and be with them along the way. Should anyone would like to make such judgment, go inside Burma, the battle ground of live and death where the survival depend on right decision in every minutes, determination as its strength for its glory triumph, and destiny is at its reach, the friendly fire is the last thing they wish. The new chapter of democratic Burma doesn’t have time to wait for those incapable of keeping with its trend for change.      

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  3. Than Shwe truly calls the bluff of the so noble “western democracies”. 

    Shows some bones and all come wagging.

  4. All the X generals, including Shwe Mann, would like to see their money being spent by their kids in cry for DEMOCRACY. What a joke for the US yto lift sanctions.

  5.  The majority of the people living now in Myanmar support the easing or even lifting of the sanctions; it could mean hundreds of thousands of jobs for needy people here. Let the government , the politicians, the ethnic armies and other advocates here continue thrash out the remaining issues while these working class people can feed their mouths. Many of the exile activists living in the West seem getting out of wavelength with the ground situation here; take note or you will soon be out of relevance.

  6. George Than Setkyar Heine

    “The United States Congress and administration will be responsible for
    generously rewarding the regime if the war in Kachin State and human
    rights abuses in ethnic areas do not end, hundreds of remaining
    political prisoners are not released, and political settlements between
    the regime and ethnic resistance groups are not realized,” Aung Din
    charged.
    Guess Obama is OUT TO MAKE a BUCK or TWO SPLITTING the SPOILS with Than Shwe’s CHOSEN REGIME at Naypyidaw and his CRONIES man.
    And the EU, Japan, US and the lot are CASH STRAPPED at the moment and BURMA is the LAST FRONTIER for them and that matter if you don’t know yet.
    Obama’s US has THROWN the PEOPLE of BURMA and their SACRIFICES/STRUGGLES for their RIGHTS, FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY to the WOLVES and their CRONIES at Naypyidaw by LIFTING the SANCTIONS today no doubt.
    And Daw Suu has NO CHOICE but to PLAY BALL in this matter after ACCEPTING the GOLD MEDAL as well of course.
    Min Aung Hlaing is HITTING the Kachins heavily until today.
    And the CRONIES are STILL GRABBING the PEOPLE’S LANSDS and ROBBING their LIVELIHOODS as well.
    Of course there are NO MECHANISMS much less LAWS and REGULATIONS in PLACE to ENSURE EQUAL DISTRIBUTION of WEALTH among the people specifically the ETHNIC MINORITIES other than FATTENING the WALLETS of Than Shwe’s and his thugs and of course his VULTURES, the CRONIES as well.
    And OBAMA has SWALLOWED HIS OWN SPIT in EXCHANGE for SOME ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH and PROMISE of DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM and HUMAN RIGHTS for the PEOPLE of BURMA who had PAID with their LIVES and LIMBS not to mention PROPERTY and POSTERITY THROWN INTO THE BARGAIN/STRUGGLE as well.
    Of course Obama and his lot at the US CAPITOL have to PAY in FULL as well in case THINGS
    GO AWRY for the PEOPLE and BURMA I add for that matter. 

  7. I never trust those who aren’t independent. I never believe in whatever was claimed by those who are dependent. I don’t take seriously the testimonies given by hostages of rebels or terrorists. I always regard the statements of those under the duress of torture as untruthful stories.

    I don’t know U Aung Din and some people from Burma who are now trying to claim to be genuine champions of human rights and freedom there. If someone is relying on financial and other supports from governments and special interest groups, he/she isn’t independent. They will say whatever their supporters want to hear.

    As far as I am concerned, KIA refuses to agree on ceasefire right now. They reportedly destroyed roads and bridges and even fire mortars into towns killing at least one female student. First and foremost, there should be a ceasefire which must be strictly observed by government troops and the KIA. While hostilities are going on there won’t be tangible negotiations.

    Those who are sympathized with the so-called Rohingyas must also condemn their brutalities against Rakhines as the latter has been criticized. Please don’t be silent when many Buddhist temples and homes of Rakhines were burnt down last weekend in Cox’s Bazaar, reportedly started by Rohingya agitators from Burma.

    It is preposterous to blame others while they themselves are saying things for their self-interests. Watching those “Friends of Burma” groups all over the world for decades, I only found most of them opportunists. They want to indict Burma for life for their own benefits after they left their birth place to look for own prosperity. That becomes their bread and butter business.

    I would like to ask them, including U Aung Din, to show their independence and self-reliance so that others can trust them.

  8. To Maung Aung Din and other exile opposition groups, the time has changing and you have to accept current improvement of human right and democratization of President U Thein Sein led Government in Burma. For sake of poor Burmese peoples, the country needs job and stable income for to support their family. You can not get 100% what you want. I have living in Western country for over 20 years and I have no problem with getting foods on the table and Medicare for my health in my adopt country. However, you can see how our fellow Burmese Citizens are struggling to meet their daily needs when you and me and other expatriates are sipping Scotch whisky every evening and plenty of foods on table.You and some of opposition peoples are forgetting peoples of Burma. The speed of changing to democracy is really impressive compare to other countries which they try to democratize in their country. However, some are failed and some are still struggling.Peace negotiation with minority ethnics should not affect country democratization processing in Burma. Both sides need to practice flexible on peace negotiation and shouldn’t be standing like statue. One thing you must understand, this President U Thein Sein Government does not have 100% authority. I believe President U Thein Sein and his Minister U Aung Min is sincerely want genuine truce and reconciliation with minority ethnics’ Army. You can’t be so negative view on Government when the whole country is positive moving forward after more than half century under different idiot stupid dictatorships.  We must give some credits to President U Thein Sein and some of his Ministers. We all want everything faultless result but even biggest world democracy importer United State doesn’t get it yet.  Lifting economy sanction is not lifting sanction on individual like bastard idiot dictator Than Shwe and his cronies. Lifting economic sanction is giving some kind of rewards for his afford for changing country direction to democracy. Daw Su and U Thein Sein is working together for country. They have put aside personal differences and putting country as first priority. It’s very rare to see in International politic but we Burmese can do it because we are Burmese.I hope President U Thein Sein will urge Military Chief Min Aung Hlaing for genuine truce and reconciliation with minority ethnics’ Army.  They need times for changing. Let give time to Government for to sorting out all problems idiot stupid dictator Than Shwe created in country. Who knows what Than Shwe Karma will be? Sai Lin Kan

  9.  

    To Maung Aung Din and other exile opposition groups, the
    time has changing and you have to accept current improvement of human right and
    democratization of President U Thein Sein led Government in Burma.
    For sake of poor Burmese peoples, the country needs job and stable income for
    to support their family. You can not get 100% what you want. I have living in
    Western country for over 20 years and I have no problem with getting foods on
    the table and Medicare for my health in my adopt country. However, you can see
    how our fellow Burmese Citizens are struggling to meet their daily needs when
    you and me and other expatriates are sipping Scotch whisky
    every evening and plenty of foods on table.

    You and some of opposition peoples are forgetting peoples of Burma.
    The speed of changing to democracy is really impressive compare to other
    countries which they try to democratize in their country. However, some are
    failed and some are still struggling.

    Peace negotiation with minority ethnics should not affect country
    democratization processing in Burma.
    Both sides need to practice flexible on peace negotiation and shouldn’t be
    standing like statue.

    One thing you must understand, this President U Thein Sein Government does
    not have 100% authority. I believe President U Thein Sein and his Minister U
    Aung Min is sincerely want genuine truce and reconciliation with minority
    ethnics’ Army. You can’t be so negative view on Government when the whole
    country is positive moving forward after more than half century under different
    idiot stupid dictatorships.  We must give some credits to President U
    Thein Sein and some of his Ministers.

    We all want everything faultless result but even biggest world democracy exporter
    United State
    doesn’t get it yet.  Lifting economy sanction is not lifting sanction on
    individual like bastard idiot dictator Than Shwe and his cronies. Lifting
    economic sanction is giving some kind of rewards for his afford for changing
    country direction to democracy.
    Daw Su and U Thein Sein is working together for country. They have put
    aside personal differences and putting country as first priority. It’s very
    rare to see in International politic but we Burmese can do it because we are
    Burmese.
    I hope President U Thein Sein will urge Military Chief Min Aung Hlaing for
    genuine truce and reconciliation with minority ethnics’ Army. 
    They need times for changing. Let give time to Government for to sorting
    out all problems idiot stupid dictator Than Shwe created in country.

  10. Myanmar’s fake democratic government plants cronies and US waters on them. Drug lords and military cronies will rule forever.

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