November 23, 2011

Senator Webb Statement on Recent Developments in U S -Burma Relations - Nov 22,2011 - Senator Webb Statement on Recent Developments in U.S.-Burma Relations

Senator was first Member of Congress to visit country in a decade; only American official to meet country’s former top leader

Washington, DC—Senator Jim Webb, chair of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, issued a statement following the announcement that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intends to visit Burma next month. In 2009, Senator Webb was the first Member of Congress to visit the country in more than ten years, and he remains the only American official ever to meet with the country’s now-former top leader, General Than Shwe. He also met with political leader Aung San Suu Kyi--who at that time remained under house arrest--and obtained the release of American prisoner John Yettaw.

“I welcome the series of events over the past week with respect to Burma chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014. I believe this can be an opportunity for the government to demonstrate the credibility of its intentions to join the international community.

“I am also pleased that Secretary Clinton will be visiting the country next month. Burma is now in the midst of a key transitional period that has yielded greater opportunities for interaction with government leaders and civil society, and restructuring of government and military institutions. I am hopeful that Secretary Clinton’s visit will provide an opportunity to closely examine any substantive improvements in our relations during this transitional period, and to take advantage of all of the tools at our disposal to facilitate Burmese economic development, political reconciliation, and ultimately greater progress toward democratic governance.”

Background on Senator Webb’s leadership in the region:

Turning America’s Gaze Toward Asia
By Emily Cadei, CQ Staff
Nov. 14, 2011 – Page 2374

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