Monday, 09 December 2019

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Lift U.S. sanctions during FM’s U.S. visit: Webb

(MIzzima) – The arrival of the Burmese foreign minister to visit Washington this week is an “appropriate” time to lift U.S. sanctions, Sen. Jim Webb said on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin will arrive in Washington this week to meet with senior leaders, including Webb.

“The president has the power to lift economic sanctions,” said Webb, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee. “It is time for him to act.”

In 2009, Webb was the first American leader to visit Burma in more than 10 years, and he remains the only American official ever to meet with General Than Shwe, the former leader of the military junta.

“The U.S. trade embargo with China was lifted 41 years ago, on the gamble that political reforms would follow economic change," said Webb.  “Burma has taken the unusual step of making political advances ahead of economic change. The process of reform in Burma is still far from complete, but the positive steps that have been taken should be met with a positive response from our own government.”

The senator warned against lifting sanctions sector by sector, saying that retaining sanctions on individual industries such as petroleum would be “a strategic mistake.”
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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