Obama announces lifting of US sanctions on Myanmar
Last month, Obama had announced plans to lift the economic sanctions after meeting the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Washington. Photograph: (Reuters)
US President Barack Obama issued an executive order rescinding sanctions on Myanmar on Friday, citing substantial advances to promote democracy.
The order reinstates preferential tariffs for Myanmar that were suspended for more than two decades amid human rights abuses by the ruling Junta.
"I have determined that the situation that gave rise to the national emergency ... has been significantly altered by Burma's (Myanmar's) substantial advances to promote democracy, including historic elections in November 2015," Obama said in a letter to the US House and Senate speakers, Reuters reported.
The announcement ends an emergency order that established that the policies of the former military government were a threat to US national security. The sanctions had been annually renewed by US presidents for two decades.
The economic and financial sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were no longer in effect, a US Treasury statement said.
Last month, Obama had announced plans to lift the economic sanctions after meeting the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Washington.
"While Burma faces significant challenges, including the consolidation of its democracy, the United States can, and intends to, use other means to support the government and people of Burma in their efforts to address these challenges," Obama's letter said.
The move is designed to coax the rapidly transforming southeast Asian country from decades of economic isolation. But the removal of sanctions will not be applicable to military-to-military assistance, US administration officials have said, Reuters reports.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won in the November elections.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and democracy icon, helped persuade the West to impose sanctions on Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, during her years as a jailed opposition leader. She is now trying to strike a balance between showing her people the economic rewards of a democratic transition while keeping the pressure on the country's generals for further reforms, Reuters said.
(WION with inputs from agencies)