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U.S. diplomat’s possible visit to Burma under discussion

(Mizzima) – The U.S. Embassy in Burma has confirmed it is discussing a possible trip to the country by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, who is presently on a ten-day regional tour.

Campbell, who on Friday will travel to Brunei from Malaysia, is currently visiting several Southeast Asian countries to discuss bilateral relationships, and the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon said they are also discussing a possible visit for him to the military-ruled country.

“We are still in discussions with the Burmese authorities regarding a possible trip,” an Embassy official told Mizzima.

Campbell visited Burma in November 2009, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country in 14 years. It was also the first visit since the U.S. announced a new policy toward the strife-stricken Southeast Asian nation.

Washington last year altered its foreign policy vis-à-vis Naypyidaw, as outlined under the previous administration of George W. Bush, and began engaging the Burmese regime while maintaining existing sanctions.

Campbell, during a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, said he was disappointed by the Burmese junta’s announced electoral law, essentially barring opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from taking part in elections planned for later this year.

“What we have seen so far is disappointing and regrettable, and we’d like to see steps taken by the [Burmese] government to encourage a domestic dialogue in anticipation of and in advance of the elections,” Campbell told the briefing.

Campbell began his Asian tour on March 7th in Singapore, a schedule that includes stopovers in Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Tokyo. 

(Mungpi is a special correspondent to Mizzima based in Oklahoma City.)

Last Updated ( Monday, 05 April 2010 18:05 )  

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