Obama Extends Some Sanctions Against Burma Despite Reforms

Myanmar, Burma, United States, Barack Obama, reform, sanctions, business, investment, US, America, Arakan, Rakhine, President, military, tatmadaw,

US President Barack Obama sits with Burmese President Thein Sein in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington May 20, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama extended some economic sanctions against Burma for another year on Thursday, telling Congress the step is needed despite some progress on reforms made by the country.

Obama notified leaders of Congress in a letter that he was renewing for another year the National Emergencies Act, which prohibits US businesses and individuals from investing in Burma or doing business with Burma figures involved in repression of the democracy movement since the mid-1990s.

Obama, who visited Burma in 2012, said the Burma government had made advances in critical areas such as the release of more than 1,100 political prisoners, progress toward a nationwide ceasefire, the legalization of unions and taking steps to improve the country’s labor standards.

However, he said, “Despite great strides that Burma has made in its reform effort, the situation in the country continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

“The political opening remains nascent, and concerns persist regarding ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, particularly in Rakhine [Arakan] State, and the continued role of the military in the country’s political and economic activities,” Obama said.

A year ago Obama lifted a 1996 ban on granting US entry visas to Burma’s military rulers and their business partners and immediate family.

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council, Patrick Ventrell, said significant challenges remain in Burma including a dire humanitarian situation in Arakan State and incidents of violence toward Muslims and other minorities.

He said Obama extended the penalties for another year “in order to maintain the flexibility necessary to sanction bad actors and prevent backsliding on reform even as we broadly ease sanctions.”

4 Responses to Obama Extends Some Sanctions Against Burma Despite Reforms

  1. ……..particularly in Rakhine [Arakan] State, ……,” Obama said.—-
    What is that,- did not Spokesman of the Government Ye Htut tell every one in the National Newspaper that the issues in Rakhine would have no effect on the image and progress with the USA, just some days ago.
    How come that U Ye Htut is able so much to miss judge the US Government and Obama,specially today U Ye Htut can be assured that very much the Rakhine issues mainly created by some extremists and nationalistic Rakhine party leaders and Buddhist monks in Rakhine and Mandalay had a very negative impact for many and all Myanmar people.
    When will the Myanmar people wake up and understand how much a political minority in Sittwe and Rakhines in Yangon with the backing of some Parlament leading person block a lot of development chances with their unusual ideas of nation building and exclusivity, combined with taking away the freedom of many Myanmar women try to put laws in place which are absolute against Buddhas teaching , while the same person stay very far away from their own values. Mr Ye Htut maybe you with your pre mature commends even triggered that Mr Obama mentioned specifically the Rakhine Situation as one of the main reason for extension of Sanctions again all Myanmar people – congratulation for your miss judgement again……

  2. it is about time that the US is told to GET LOST does Asia have to keep taking this DO WHAT I SAY OR? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

  3. Cosmetic reform is not good enough to build genuine democratic nation. It needs genuine democratic constitution to uphold real democratic Union of Myanmar. Regime wants to keep all the meat and it is throwing bones at the public. Lion’s share is for them and bones are for the citizens. It is not what the people had been asking and dying for. Equal opportunity must be the law. Unelected soldiers on the floor of Hlutdaw get too much opportunities than elected Hlutdaw members. It is very very much unacceptable. 2008 Nargis constitution must be totally thrown into the Indian Ocean for good.

  4. US extended the sanction due to many reasons. One of main reason is that
    minorities issues and undemocratic constitution. Arakan is not a big issue for US, but take it into consideration many a time in US senate. Peoples do not want any more to see Burma is not improving due to in competence as Burma has many educated and far sighted peoples within and out side the country. Politics is such Burma military should not involve any more. More long time to dominate the country is enough.
    The more they involve the more the country go backward. Let the technocrats and sincere politicians rule the country. As far as cronieism
    existance in Burma and also monopoly in politics by one group of peoples, this country has no future.

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