Myanmar: US eases a sanction, Suu Kyi candidacy approved

Updated On: Feb 07, 2012

Suu Kyi begins by-election campaign

Pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's candidacy for Myanmar's 1st April by-elections was formally accepted on Monday, and the US has eased one of its sanctions it levels against the country.

Suu Kyi officially launched her campaign on Tuesday, visiting the Irrawaddy Delta, a region devestated by Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party boycotted elections in November 2010 when the military junta was replaced by a nominally civilian government.

Her election campaign, she said, would focus on the rule of law, development and national reconciliation.

A victory would be historic for Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate who spent most of the last two decades under house arrest. She would have a voice in Parliament for the first time after decades as the country's opposition leader, and has reportedly been offered a position in government, if she does win her seat.

US eases a sanction

On Tuesday, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a partial waiver of restrictions imposed on Myanmar, under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the State Department said in a statement.

The waiver will allow assessment missions and limited technical assistance in Myanmar by international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

The US had said it would consider lifting sanctions on the country if political reform continued. Recently, ASEAN countries have joined the call to ease restrictions, noting progress made.

The US announcement also came two days after one of Myanmar's most prominent rebel groups warned that a cease fire deal seen as a breakthrough in relations with the regime was "fragile", as ethnic unrest continues to cloud reforms.

Although the US easing of a restriction is symbolic, it will take more time for other sanctions to be lifted, as waivers must be approved by both Congress and the Office and the President.

Report: Burma: Suu Kyi Can Run for Parliament [TIME, 6 February 2012]

Report: US announces limited Myanmar sanctions lifting [AFP,7 February 2012]

Report: Suu Kyi campaigns for Burma polls as US eases sanctions [BBC News, 7 February 2012]

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