US Envoy to Burma Says Peace Needed if Sanctions Are to Be Lifted

US Burma representative W. Patrick Murphy holds a child outside a hospice for HIV-positive patients in Kachin State in December 2012. (Photo: US Embassy)

The full suspension of sanctions imposed on Burma by the United States hinges on addressing ongoing US concerns over ethnic conflicts, the release of political prisoners and an end to the country’s longstanding ties with North Korea, the US special representative for Burma W. Patrick Murphy said in an interview in Rangoon on Thursday.

“It is going to require action here in the country,” he said. “The completion of efforts to release political prisoners, to ensure human rights for all in the country, whether citizen or not, to achieve national reconciliation and to sever the military relationship with North Korea.”

Murphy made his remarks as he briefly stopped in Rangoon on his way from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka to Naypyidaw. The plight of the Muslim Rohingya population and ethnic violence in Arakan State are at top of his agenda for the visit.

“This issue has taken on an international dimension recently,” he said. “We are very, very concerned.”

During Murphy’s stay in Dhaka on Wednesday, the US embassy there announced the inauguration of the first of 30 US-sponsored “Coastal Crisis Management Centers” in Bangladesh, which would help with humanitarian relief and tackle crime along the sea border.

The career diplomat said he will be travelling to Sittwe in Arakan State on Saturday to underline US concerns over ongoing tensions between ethnic Rohingya and Arakanese there, only days after a visit by US Ambassador Derek Mitchell.

“The point is that we want to certainly demonstrate from a Washington perspective that the United States cares very much about the Rakhine [Arakanese] situation,” he said.

Efforts to deal with the conflict that has uprooted some 115,000 civilians since last year are being made by the Burmese government, Murphy conceded.

“We are very encouraged that President Thein Sein has talked about durable solutions, including citizenship for residents in Rakhine [Arakan] State who currently lack citizenship,” he said. “We are also very much supportive of the efforts to provide immediate security.”

When asked, Murphy did not rule out the possibility that the United States would play a role in monitoring a ceasefire in Kachin State, if both the Burmese armed forces and the Kachin rebels made a request for assistance.

“We want to be as helpful as possible,” he said, adding that the US has not heard yet from the two parties after they held two days of talks in the Chinese border town Ruili earlier this week. If there were any requests, he said, “we’ll take that on board and give them due consideration.”

In cautiously chosen words, Murphy hinted at a failure by the Burmese government to provide sufficient evidence that it had ended military ties with North Korea.

“We very much hope to be in a position to accept a declaration that the military relationship between the two countries has been severed,” Murphy said.

He reiterated US statements that the complete lifting of sanctions was a “complicated undertaking.”

While reforms were underway, he said, “we need to get to the next stage.”


5 Responses to US Envoy to Burma Says Peace Needed if Sanctions Are to Be Lifted

  1. Cheer Mr Patrick Murphy, US envoy remark on the important of peace between ethnics and bama military thugs for sanction release. It is the real ethical manner from USA for the sake of all Burmese people. US ( supporting KMT army in Burma), UK( invasion Burma) and Japan ( invasion Burma) have responsibility to compensate for their wrong doing respectively on Burma in the past, particularly on all Burmese ethnic minorities for decade and decade long suffering. All Burmese politicians , including DASSK must accept or respect the equality demanded by all ethnics in Burma if all Burmese politicians have civilized or educated or ethical manner. It is the true fact that Burmese independence is not from Aung san only. The crucial point is that all ethnics trusted aung san from his panglong agreement. Pnaglong agreement is not rubbish. Than shwe is war criminal , low born and low educated so than shwe will not correct his wrong doing until now. Let him go where it is and Buddhist or god will punish him at the end.

  2. Myitkyina Hkawng Leim

    The US policy of sanction on Burma, so as the vital hope of all citizens of Burma foretasting the real democratic change within, has to be counted for respect even by all alliance with the same value in dealing with whatever bilateral diplomatic making, in a way of speedy political change in reality in Burma. The pragmatic sanction policy seems to be good to implement beyond the images of arising issues, being products of the Burma regime in center for some extend. To be honest, it is the political issue to be addressed straightaway in stead of beating around the bush, because the arising issue will not be end up by normal policy of sanction in Burma.

  3. Never mind full suspension of sanctions. We do not trade Bengali for full suspension of sanctions. We rather accept sanctions over Bengali.

  4. Busy putting out all sorts of pull and push messages to manipulate the public opinion, right?

    By the way, what is the going rate for this theatrical showing of intense and irresistible compassion to the little citizens (like in US Presidential campaign) while at the same time trying to STEAL the stuff off the very kid your are using as a prop? Because all Americans are now required to do it at AIDS places around the world.

    P.S Don’t forget to wash. Scabies can be bad. (Just kidding- but it is a whole lot safer to send DRONES to smoke the bad guys off like in the video games. No scabies, the same expression of intense oh-so-American Humanity)

    True P.S Does this intense flurry of declarations and visits and press briefs ( now that Burma has so many Free Media it is so much easier to screw the public) in such urgency any indication of anxiety on the “West” part of their groomed/ deified girl not doing well at home in the public opinion arena?

  5. Astonishing statement! US knows very well about Burma. They are watching very closely. They will not allow to crush any minority in Burma and all over the world. No racist will be going unpunished. Long live United State!

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