Obama lifts Myanmar trade sanctions

WASHINGTON • President Barack Obama has formally announced the lifting of United States sanctions on Myanmar by terminating an emergency order that deemed the policies of the former military government a threat to US national security.

"I have determined that the situation that gave rise to the national emergency... has been significantly altered by (Myanmar's) substantial advan- ces to promote democracy, including historic elections in November 2015," Mr Obama said in a letter to the US House and Senate Speakers on Friday.

The move followed a meeting between Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Mr Obama in Washington last month, when she called for the lifting of economic sanctions against her country, and he said he was willing to do so.

Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a sweeping victory in the November polls.

Mr Obama's letter pointed to the formation of a democratically elected, civilian-led government as a result of the election, the release of many political prisoners and improved human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

OTHER MEANS OF SUPPORT

While (Myanmar) faces significant challenges, including the consolidation of its democracy, the United States can, and intends to, use other means to support the government and people of (Myanmar) in their efforts to address these challenges.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, in his letter announcing the lifting of sanctions.

"While (Myanmar) faces significant challenges, including the consolidation of its democracy, the United States can, and intends to, use other means to support the government and people of (Myanmar) in their efforts to address these challenges," Mr Obama's letter said.

Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate and democracy icon, helped persuade the West to impose sanctions on Myanmar during her years as a jailed opposition leader.

She is now trying to strike a balance between showing her people the economic rewards of a democratic transition while keeping pressure on the country's generals for further reforms.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 09, 2016, with the headline 'Obama lifts Myanmar trade sanctions'. Print Edition | Subscribe