Monday, September 20, 2021

Obama promises to lift sanctions against Myanmar

State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi delivers remarks to members of the news media during her meeting with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 14 September 2016. Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi discussed trade relations, such as current US sanctions against the Southeast Asian country. This is Aung San Suu Kyi's first visit to the US since assuming the position of State Counsellor following her party's win in the election of November 2015. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi delivers remarks to members of the news media during her meeting with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 14 September 2016. Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi discussed trade relations, such as current US sanctions against the Southeast Asian country. This is Aung San Suu Kyi’s first visit to the US since assuming the position of State Counsellor following her party’s win in the election of November 2015. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Washington, Sep 15 (efe_epa).- US President Barack Obama has rewarded Myanmar for its progress towards democracy by promising to lift all remaining sanctions against the Southeast Asian country, as he welcomed de facto leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to the White House.

From the Oval Office, Obama on Wednesday characterized the changes in Myanmar as a “remarkable social and political transformation” and stressed that the United States is “prepared” to lift the sanctions.

“It is the right thing to do in order to ensure that the people of Burma see rewards from a new way of doing business and a new government,” Obama said.

The president added that the US is prepared to remove sanctions on Myanmar “soon.”

Meanwhile, in a joint statement signed by two governments, the White House said the US “will terminate the National Emergency with respect to Myanmar and will revoke the Executive Order-based framework of the Burma sanctions program.”

Shortly before the meeting with Suu Kyi, Obama sent Congress official notice that he was restoring trade benefits – the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to Myanmar, which were revoked in 1989, during George H. W. Bush’s presidency.

In November, Myanmar will be back on the list of poor and developing countries benefiting from GSP, which grants preferential tariff treatment to certain products and significant tariff reductions.

State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi (L) listens to US President Barack Obama (R) deliver remarks to members of the news media, during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 14 September 2016. Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi discussed trade relations, such as current US sanctions against the Southeast Asian country. This is Aung San Suu Kyi's first visit to the US since assuming the position of State Counsellor following her party's win in the election of November 2015. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi (L) listens to US President Barack Obama (R) deliver remarks to members of the news media, during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 14 September 2016. Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi discussed trade relations, such as current US sanctions against the Southeast Asian country. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi agreed with Obama that the time to lift sanctions on her country has come, saying her first priority is “national reconciliation and peace.”

The US, however, still has concerns about the human rights situation in Myanmar, especially regarding the Muslim Rohingya minority group.

Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest during the dictatorial regime, visited Washington in 2012, while holding the position of opposition leader.

During that visit, she received the gold medal from the US Congress in a ceremony in which Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, compared her story with Nelson Mandela, the South African leader.

Obama, for his part, traveled to Myanmar in November 2014 and supported Suu Kyi’s call for the constitutional reform.