Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this week called on the Obama administration to appoint a Special Envoy on Burma and implement additional banking sanctions until the regime enacts serious reform.
Following is the text of their letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, which was also signed by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.):
March 29, 2011
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street
Washington, D.C. 20522
Dear Secretary Clinton:
We are writing to express our support for the official position paper on sanctions on Burma released by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD). As described in the paper, we agree that sanctions should be maintained until the regime undertakes serious reforms.
In its paper, the NLD also concluded that economic sanctions affect the military junta and its associates and are not to blame for the country’s economic problems.
Yet, following a fraudulent election that was neither free nor fair, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has moved ahead with convening national and regional legislatures and forming a government with former and current military representatives. These actions have been described by the NLD as reducing “democratization in Burma to a parody.” With the regime’s recent moves and persistent human rights abuses, conditions do not currently exist to meet the necessary criteria to consider an easing of sanctions.
Instead, we urge the department at senior levels to take this opportunity to accept the NLD’s invitation to work with them to ensure that sanctions are more effective and better utilized. One way to enhance this coordination would be the nomination of a Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma as mandated by Section 7 of the Tom Lantos Block Burmese Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts Act (JADE Act). We therefore urge the administration to act swiftly to nominate an individual with the depth of expertise and the breadth of skills necessary to succeed in this important position.
The NLD further asserts that financial sanctions can be effective and targeted to only members of the military junta and their associates. Consequently, we urge you to exercise the authority for additional banking sanctions against Burma’s leaders explicitly provided by Congress in Section 5 of the JADE Act. We believe that exercising such authority represents one of the most powerful instruments at our disposal for pressuring Burma’s rulers to change course.
We appreciate your attention to these requests and we look forward to working with you to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law for all Burmese citizens.
Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator
Mitch McConnell, United States Senator
Barbara Boxer, United States Senator
Mark Kirk, United States Senator