Obama nominates Ambassador to Myanmar

Derek Mitchell has been serving as the special representative and policy coordinator for Myanmar in the Obama administration.

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Derek Mitchell as the country`s first ambassador to Myanmar in 22 years.

"Today , I am nominating our first US Ambassador to Burma (Myanmar) in 22 years, Derek Mitchell, whose work has been instrumental in bringing about this new phase in our bilateral relationship," Obama said in a White House statement.

Mitchell has been serving as the special representative and policy coordinator for Myanmar in the Obama administration. Obama also announced that his government will ease its ban on "exportation of financial services and new investment" in Myanmar.

He said that greater economic engagement between the two countries is critical to supporting reformers in Myanmar and bringing the country out of isolation, Xinhua reported.

But he noted that Washington remains concerned about Myanmar`s "closed political system, its treatment of minorities and detention of political prisoners, and its relationship with North Korea".

A framework will be established to ensure "that those who abuse human rights, engage in corruption, interfere with the peace process, or obstruct the reform process" do not benefit from the investment from the US, Obama said in the statement.

The announcement by the Obama administration was viewed as a reward to the recent democratic reforms in Myanmar. The country held its parliamentary by-election on April 01, in which the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Aung San Suu Kyi secured big gains, winning 43 of 45 parliamentary seats available.

Also on Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with visiting Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Washington. During their joint press conference, Hillary appealed for the country`s remaining political prisoners to be freed.

IANS

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