State coun­sel­lor pays a visit to 10 Down­ing Street

Be­fore leav­ing Lon­don yes­ter­day, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May at the iconic Bri­tish head of state’s res­i­dence, where the two dis­cussed Brexit and Myan­mar’s on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SHOON NAING news­room@mm­times.com

STATE Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her del­e­ga­tion will ar­rive the US to­day where she is ex­pected to meet with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den be­fore sit­ting in on Congress and din­ing with business lead­ers dur­ing the two-day trip.

The visit is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s first to the US since her Na­tional League for Democ­racy swept a land­slide election vic­tory last Novem­ber, and she be­came the de facto head of state. The visit will also be the last un­der the out­go­ing Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts, hot top­ics up for dis­cus­sion dur­ing the visit in­clude a po­ten­tial fur­ther eas­ing of US sanc­tions on Myan­mar, the nascent NLD-led gov­ern­ment’s peace process and the state coun­sel­lor’s com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing the hu­man rights record in Rakhine State, where over 120,000 peo­ple, mainly state­less Mus­lims, re­main seg­re­gated in IDP camps.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Sithu Aung Myint told The Myan­mar Times that he does not think the state coun­sel­lor will lobby for any changes to the sanc­tions when the is­sue is dis­cussed.

“Daw Suu has said be­fore that nei­ther she nor the NLD can have an ef­fect on the sanc­tions which are de­ter­mined in­ter­nally by the US. So chang­ing them re­quires a US for­eign pol­icy de­ci­sion,” he said.

How­ever, the US has pre­vi­ously con­sulted Daw Aung San Suu Kyi be­fore re­tool­ing the sanc­tions, in­clud­ing while she was an op­po­si­tion leader un­der house ar­rest. In the past, she has rec­om­mended main­tain­ing the black­list in or­der to wield lever­age against the Tatam­daw.

On Septem­ber 12, the Kachin Al­liance sent an open let­ter to Pres­i­dent Obama ask­ing him to think twice be­fore re­mov­ing from the black­list in­di­vid­u­als who profit from re­sources in eth­nic mi­nor­ity ar­eas that were “un­justly ac­quired through land grabs and crony­ism”.

“In spite of the progress Burma has made, we strongly be­lieve that with­draw­ing the re­main­ing tar­geted sanc­tions on the mil­i­tary, its re­lated en­ti­ties and the cronies listed on the Of­fice of For­eign As­sets Con­trol’s Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Na­tion­als and the deep­en­ing en­gage­ment with the Burma army (Tat­madaw) at this del­i­cate tran­si­tion would be gravely pre­ma­ture,” the al­liance said in the let­ter.

In mid-May, the United States ex­tended sanc­tions against Myan­mar, adopt­ing new mea­sures tar­geted against Steven Law’s Asia World while re­mov­ing some state-owned en­ti­ties from its list. The US con­tin­ues to ap­ply sanc­tions on Myan­mar un­der the In­ter­na­tional Emer­gency Eco­nomic Pow­ers Act (IEEPA), which al­lows the US Trea­sury to black­list cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als or com­pa­nies. Most of the re­main­ing sanc­tions deal with mil­i­tary-backed con­glom­er­ates, and the multi-bil­lion-dol­lar jade and gems in­dus­tries. (See re­lated story on Business 8)

Be­fore her ar­rival in Washington to­day, the state coun­sel­lor made a stopover in Lon­don. Fol­low­ing her stud­ies at Ox­ford, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pur­sued a mas­ters de­gree at the School of Ori­en­tal and African Stud­ies, Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don. Her two sons were born in Lon­don, and their UK cit­i­zen­ship has served as a con­sti­tu­tion­ally en­shrined stum­bling block to her as­sum­ing the pres­i­dency.

Dur­ing her two-day stay in Lon­don, the state coun­sel­lor met with 12 am­bas­sadors from Europe, the Mid­dle East and Africa, and also spent time with her younger son Kim Aris and her grand­chil­dren.

The UK’s For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son wel­comed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to Lon­don on Septem­ber 12 and they dis­cussed the early pri­or­i­ties and chal­lenges fac­ing the new gov­ern­ment in Myan­mar, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice.

‘Daw Suu has said be­fore that nei­ther she nor the NLD can have an ef­fect on the sanc­tions.’

Sithu Aung Myint Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst

Mr John­son told the state coun­sel­lor, “The UK is pleased to have played an im­por­tant role in bring­ing about Burma’s emer­gence from decades of re­pres­sion and iso­la­tion. We re­main com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing Burma’s ex­tra­or­di­nary re­forms and we wel­come a demo­cratic, sta­ble and pros­per­ous Burma that can con­trib­ute to sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in South East Asia and be­yond,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Be­fore de­part­ing for the US, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May yes­ter­day at 10 Down­ing Street. The two re­port­edly talked about Brexit and Myan­mar’s con­tin­ued po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion.

PHOTO: AFP

Photo: AFP

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May (right) speaks with State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the be­gin­ning of their meet­ing in­side 10 Down­ing Street in cen­tral Lon­don yes­ter­day.

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