U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today released the following statement regarding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcements on Burma sanctions:
"We have each had good conversations today with Secretary Clinton and the Foreign Minister of Burma concerning the next steps in our bilateral relationship. We welcome the Obama Administration's decision on a focused suspension of certain U.S. sanctions on Burma, as well as the nomination of Derek Mitchell to serve as our ambassador to Burma. Derek has done an excellent job in his current role as Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, and his experience will serve us well as we navigate our evolving relationship with a changing Burma. Today's announcements strike an appropriate balance between encouraging the process of reform now unfolding in Burma, while maintaining sufficient leverage to continue pressing the Burmese government for additional progress.
"It is important to note that today's announcement is not a lifting of sanctions. It is a conditional suspension. The legislative architecture of U.S. sanctions on Burma should remain in place, even as the Administration waives the application of certain sanctions at this time. In addition, we fully support Secretary Clinton's decision to maintain and update the targeted U.S. sanctions against persons and entities in Burma that undermine democracy, violate human rights, and steal the nation's wealth. Finally, as Secretary Clinton also announced today, it is critical that the U.S. government establish strong and principled standards to ensure that any U.S. business activities in Burma benefit the country's people and private sector, reinforce the legitimate authority of the civilian government as opposed to the military, and enhance the transparency and accountability of the Burmese state, especially state-owned enterprises.
"Maintaining this suspension of sanctions, or easing sanctions further, will depend on greater progress by the Burmese government. We will continue to press for an end to Burma's military ties with North Korea; for the unconditional release of all remaining political prisoners; for an end to violence and oppression against the Kachin and other ethnic minority communities in Burma; and for additional democratic, economic, and constitutional reforms as determined by the Burmese people and their elected representatives.
"We will continue to consult with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratic leaders in Burma, and to work closely with the Secretary of State and the Administration, to ensure that the United States is taking every responsible step to support the democratic development of Burma and the improvement of our relationship."