U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement Friday after the Senate confirmed the nomination of Derek Mitchell as ambassador to Burma:
"I congratulate Derek Mitchell on his confirmation as our ambassador to Burma. He has done an excellent job in his current role as Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma; his experience will serve us well in the region as he builds on the strong foundation established by Michael Thurston and our embassy team in Rangoon."
Background: Senator McConnell traveled to Burma from January 15-17 of this year. During the visit, he met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese government officials, recently released political prisoners and U.S. Embassy personnel. The Senator discussed political reform, bilateral relations and regional security issues with Suu Kyi and the Burmese leaders. For nearly 20 years, Sen. McConnell has been 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 helped enact legislation placing sanctions on the Burmese government. He also consistently called for the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.