United Nations, Sep. 29 (ANI): In a bid to build better relations with Burma, the Obama administration has vowed to directly engage in with the southeast Asian country's military regime, and increase its humanitarian aid.
The Washington Post quoted Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell as saying that the United States will leave in place existing U.S. sanctions on Burma until its military rulers make "concrete progress" on democratic reforms.
However, he said, efforts at more conciliatory relations will continue even if the Burmese government does not hold credible democratic elections next year.
"We intend to begin a direct dialogue with the Burmese authorities. We are prepared to sit down, but also recognize that nothing has changed yet on the ground," he said.
Campbell said that the administration is planning to appoint a special envoy to coordinate diplomacy with Burma. e said the talks will focus on ways the two sides could stem the Burmese drug trade, recover remains of U.S. servicemen who died in Burma during World War II, and sever the government's military links to North Korea. he White House announcement came after Burmese Prime Minister, General Thein Sein, urged the UN General Assembly to end the sanctions and provide more funding in order to rebuild communities devastated in Cyclone Nargis.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other foreign leaders asked Sein to release its political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, so they can participate in the elections.
"Our focus is not on the narrow interest of individuals, organizations or parties but on the larger interest of the entire people of the nation. We have urged all citizens, whether they agree with us or not, to actively participate in the process without losing sight of the democratic goal," he said.
The administration has been struggling for more than seven months to find a policy that can coax Burma out of its isolation and compel it to embrace democratic change. (ANI)