Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who is en route to Burma, noted Friday that the Burmese government has taken firm, decisive steps to meet the specific concerns of the United States and its allies, specifically the release of political prisoners, efforts to forge cease fire agreements and allowing Aung San Suu Kyi to run for parliament.
McConnell said: "While the Thein Sein government will need to do more to explain the military relationship with North Korea and hold free and fair elections, it appears entirely appropriate that the United States would consider restoration of more formal diplomatic ties."
During his visit to Burma, McConnell will be meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese government officials and U.S. Embassy personnel. The Senator plans to discuss political reform, bilateral relations and regional security issues with Suu Kyi and the Burmese leaders. Senator McConnell will arrive in Burma on Sunday, January 15, 2012 and return to the United States on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.
Sen. McConnell has and continues to be a strong advocate for political reform, reconciliation and democracy in Burma. Every year since 2003, Senator McConnell, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has introduced and enacted legislation placing sanctions on the Burmese government. He also consistently called for the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. Since her release, Senator McConnell has spoken with Suu Kyi several times on the phone. This will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two.