US-Myanmar talks practically on hold

With the Obama Administration deciding to drag Myanmar`s military junta to an international commission on war crimes, the much talked about talks between the two sides, have come to a halt for all practical purposes.

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2010, 19:46 PM IST

Washington: With the Obama Administration
deciding to drag Myanmar`s military junta to an international
commission on war crimes, the much talked about talks between
the two sides, started last year, have come to a halt for all
practical purposes.

"I do not project any discussions with Burma in the
near future. I can`t say there is a time to any particular
date," a Senior Administration official told reporters
yesterday, even as he was quick to assert that the policy of
engagement is still in place.
"We will continue to engage Burma, but at the same
time, we will continue to find ways to put pressure on Burma,"
the official said on condition of anonymity.

The reference to `pressure` was an apparent
acknowledgement that its policy of engagement announced last
year by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of
the UN General Assembly has not yielded any result and in fact
has increased the frustration of the international community.

The official said the US will be consulting other
countries to determine their views on a commission of inquiry
and see if they share the views.

Earlier in the day, the State Department spokesman
reiterated that the US will back the creation of an
international commission to investigate alleged war crimes by
Burma`s military junta.
"We believe that a properly structured international
commission of inquiry that would examine allegations of
serious violations of international law in Burma would be
warranted and appropriate.

"And we are examining how to best proceed on this
initiative," State Department spokesman P J Crowley, said at
his daily news conference.

Meanwhile, an eminent Myanmar expert, Reynaud Egreteau
in an article for the East West Center said Myanmar has deftly
manoeuvred its foreign policy in an environment that it found
difficult to navigate 15 years ago, with only Chinese and
ASEAN diplomatic options at hand.

Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong
Kong, Egreteau notes that for internally and externally
generated reasons, New Delhi would like to foster closer
relations with Myanmar, however difficult and discomfiting it
may be.

"India`s decision to welcome Senior General Than Shwe,
the head of the Burmese junta, in late July 2010 might have
exhibited all the radiance of a reinvigorated relationship,
but careful consideration of what exactly New Delhi has
fostered with its eastern neighbour will reveal that
Indo-Burmese relations remain uneasy," he wrote.

PTI