US Nominee Seeks to Coordinate Global Response to Burma

Posted June 29th, 2011 at 6:45 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The nominee to be the U.S. special envoy to Burma says he is seeking better international coordination to push for democratic reform in Burma.

Derek Mitchell said Wednesday that the inability of key members of the global community to coordinate their approach to Burma has undermined their efforts to press Burma's government.

Mitchell said he hopes to coordinate policy with international partners, including the European Union, India, China, South Korea, Japan, and ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Mitchell, a veteran policymaker on Asia, made his comments during his Senate confirmation hearing.

If confirmed, Mitchell said he would also seek a “candid dialogue” with Burma's government and respond “flexibly” to evolving considerations there. He said the United States is prepared to have a positive relationship with Burma based on mutual respect.

Mitchell was nominated to be the first U.S. special envoy to Burma as part of President Barack Obama's effort to engage the country.

The United States has been a longtime critic of the Burmese government for repressing human rights and arresting opposition leaders, including Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in 2009 that along with sanctions, the U.S. strategic goals for Burma include more humanitarian aid and direct senior-level dialogue with Burmese authorities.