Wednesday, September 14, 2016

USA lifts sanctions against Myanmar


US to sign more than $10M in loan guarantees with local microfinance institutions to support food access, job opportunities

Obama on Wednesday lifted economic sanctions on Myanmar as he met with the country's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The action came in a letter to Congress during his meeting with Suu Kyi at the Oval Office.

According to the White House, the president was going to consult with Suu Kyi about whether to further ease U.S. sanctions to help the democratic transition in that country during her first visit to Washington since she secured a sweeping victory against military rulers in last year's elections.

Following the meeting, the White House issued a statement announcing the termination of national emergency and a presidential executive order regarding the sanctions on Myanmar.

“[The] United States intends to sign a loan guarantee with five local microfinance institutions to support over $10 million in loans to small businesses in Myanmar, which will increase access to food and support employment opportunities for communities in Myanmar,” the statement said.

The two countries will also cooperate in several areas to promote democratic transition and ease ethnic and religious conflicts in the country, according to the statement.

Washington eased some sanctions on Myanmar earlier this year to support political reform, while keeping in place major economic restrictions due to human rights violations and efforts to hamper the democratic process led by Suu Kyi’s government.

Despite her victory, Suu Kyi is barred from being president under the country's military-drafted constitution because her sons are not Myanmar citizens.

She serves instead as the country's de facto leader by holding positions of foreign minister and state counselor.

Suu Kyi, has been criticized by human rights groups for failing to address the plight of the country's stateless Rohingya Muslim minority. About 125,000 remain confined to squalid camps on the country's western coast following violence between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012.


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