June 27, 2012

Chairman Kerry on Nomination of Derek Mitchell to be Ambassador to Burma

Washington, DC – This morning, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement on the nomination of Derek Mitchell to be the Ambassador to the Union of Burma.

“The last year’s changes in Burma have laid the foundation for progress towards genuine democracy, economic reform, and national reconciliation. Sending a U.S. Ambassador to Burma is a logical step forward, especially given the concrete steps Burma has taken, the bipartisan shift in how Congress views the country, and Derek Mitchell, who knows the region and policy cold, is the right person at the right time for this job.

“There are still serious human rights and nonproliferation concerns that require our vigilance, but progress warrants the Administration’s temporary suspension of sanctions with the exception of the arms embargo. We need to determine how the suspension may be coupled with new restrictions against those that fail to respect human rights and the rule of law. The outright removal of sanctions should be handled in a thoughtful, step-by-step process that is contingent upon continued progress.  That’s the best way to provide incentives to change-agents inside and outside the government, improve the lives of the people on the ground, and retain congressional leverage if reforms slow down or back slide.

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