U.S. begins to ease pressure on Myanmar
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a visit to Myanmar last December.
April 17th, 2012
01:32 PM ET

U.S. begins to ease pressure on Myanmar

By Jamie Crawford

The United States eased sanctions on Myanmar Tuesday to allow for certain financial transactions that support humanitarian, religious and other not-for-profit activities in the southeast Asian nation.

The order, which was announced in a letter by Adam J. Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, covers activities such as education, sports, religious and democracy-building activities in the country, which is also known as Burma. Support for projects that meet basic human needs such as disaster relief, clean water and sanitation are affected as well.

The announcement comes as the United States takes steps to normalize relations with Myanmar following recent parliamentary elections and the release of some of its political prisoners.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the elections a "dramatic demonstration of popular will." Clinton said the administration was working toward sending an American ambassador to Myanmar and establishing an in-country mission for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Obama administration has said it will take a measured and incremental approach to its easing of sanctions to send a signal of support to reformers in the country. Sanctions will remain in place on "individuals and institutions that remain on the wrong side of these reforms," Clinton said earlier this month.

Long ruled by a reclusive military dictatorship, a gradual thaw in relations between Myanmar and the international community began following the recent elections. The long-imprisoned Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party won at least 40 of the 44 seats it contested.

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Filed under: Myanmar • Sanctions • Security Brief
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  12. Jan Eisner of the Philippines

    Though it looks a little akward that some funds are going to the 'religious' organization, however, as mentioned along with humanitarian and other not-for-profit organizations, it shows that the US' primary concern, I assume, is to provide the basic necessities of everyone in the society, such as food, medicine, education, and the likes, and not actually to strenghten the political or economic fronts. I think this looks better rather than completely normalizing relations without concrete commitment to reform or development plans from the country's leaders.

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    April 18, 2012 at 7:32 am | Reply
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    April 18, 2012 at 3:09 am | Reply
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    April 18, 2012 at 3:00 am | Reply
  17. Saoirse

    Looks good on paper. I am heading there this summer, can't wait to see that beautiful country. I sure hope she can change things around in that country. They could really use it.

    April 18, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply
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    Funny how they are business as usual and the administration is high-fiving them.

    April 18, 2012 at 12:47 am | Reply
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