Senate Panel Approves Burma Ambassador Nominee

By Reuters 29 January 2016

WASHINGTON — A US Senate committee approved President Barack Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to Burma on Thursday, after the administration assured panel members it would not quickly change sanctions policy as the country moves from decades of military rule.

Republican Senator Cory Gardner said he had been concerned that the Obama administration would move too quickly to ease sanctions on Burma before it had made the transition to democratic government.

But Gardner said during Thursday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting he had been assured that the sanctions policy had not changed, and that Congress would be “fully consulted” about any shift.

The Obama administration has continued deep concerns about human rights and other issues in Burma, also known as Myanmar. US officials have said they would watch for the democratic process to move forward before lifting more sanctions, which target more than 100 individuals and businesses and limit US investment in the country.

The 19-member panel approved the nomination of Scot Marciel unanimously by voice vote. He must still be confirmed by the full Senate before taking up his position as ambassador.