Saturday, Mar 28, 2015Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

US says Kerry broke no sanctions on Myanmar hotel

Published on Aug 13, 2014 5:24 AM
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaking during a news conference at the Lake Garden Hotel, outside the venue of the 47th Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting, in Naypyidaw on August 10, 2014. The hotel is owned by sanctioned tycoon Zaw Zaw's Max Myanmar Group. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Tuesday that Secretary of State John Kerry technically abided his own government's laws after he stayed in Myanmar at a hotel owned by a sanctioned tycoon.

Myanmar, the host of talks this week among South-east Asian foreign ministers in its showcase capital Naypyidaw, put up Mr Kerry and his entourage at the Lake Garden Hotel, which is owned by tycoon Zaw Zaw's Max Myanmar Group.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that Mr Kerry was assigned the hotel by Myanmar's foreign ministry and that, while Zaw Zaw himself was blacklisted, US law does not prohibit Americans from staying at accommodation owned by sanctioned companies.

"You can stay at this hotel no matter who you are, you just can't do business with it. So if you wanted to sell them towels, you could not do that. But you could stay there," Ms Harf explained.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!