Obama's Overture to Myanmar
by Charles Lemos, Mon Nov 02, 2009 at 05:59:00 PM EST
The New York Times is reporting that the Obama Administration is sending Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campell, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, and his deputy Scot Marciel to to meet senior Myanmar junta officials in Naypyitaw, the administrative capital built by the junta. It is also expected that they will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained democracy advocate who has been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years.
The trip is part of a new Obama Administration policy that reverses the Bush administration's isolation of Myanmar in favor of direct, high-level talks with a country that has been ruled by the military since 1962. It is the highest level delegation to visit Myanmar since a 1996 trip by then Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
The United States has traditionally relied heavily on sanctions meant to force Myanmar's generals to respect human rights, release imprisoned political activists and make democratic reforms.