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US to lift sanctions against Myanmar

New Delhi: Reaching out to Myanmar which is taking strides towards democracy, the US today said it was planning a series of moves including lifting of sanctions in response to "courageous" steps taken by it and appreciated India for its advocacy of dialogue with regard to the country. Kurt Campbell, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, said the US has invited the Myanmar foreign minister for a visit.

"We believe the government has taken bold and necessary steps. We support those steps and want them to continue," Campbell told reporters here after the fifth India-US Dialogue on Asia Pacific region. "The United States believes that it must recognise the courageous efforts that have been taken to date and has made it clear that we will take these economic steps. We will support the establishment of a UNDP office inside the country," Campbell said.

Calling the events in Myanmar a "once in a generation chance," Campbell said that his country was also planning to lift travel restrictions. "We are also going to lift travel restrictions and we have invited the foreign minister to visit the United states," he said. Another step that the US was planning was the opening up of a USAID mission, Campbell said.

The US had expressed desire to reach out to Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to the nation`s parliament with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announcing that the US would begin the process of lifting financial sanctions. Speaking here, Campbell appreciated the role that India`s advice had played in shaping the US attitude towards Myanmar.

"Frankly, I must say, we have received very good advice and counsel from India over the course of last couple of years. An encouragement about engagement, and we think that advice has been good advice in terms of how we should approach the opportunities that we are facing today," he said.

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