US begins to court Burmese junta

by Mungpi
Thursday, 01 October 2009 19:18

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The United States and Burma on Tuesday held their first meeting in the wake of the new US policy, even as Virginian Senator James Webb hosts a congressional hearing on US’s policy towards Burma and the potential role of the US in pushing for changes in Burma on Wednesday.

Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State, and the Burmese Minister for Science and Technology, U Thaung led delegation met on Wednesday in New York and held discussions on a wide range of issues, the State Department said.

Philip J. Crowley, Deputy spokesperson of the State Department, told reporters during a regular press briefing on Wednesday that the US and Burmese delegates discussed a wide range of issues including political prisoners, Aung San Suu Kyi, ethnic conflicts and dialogue between the Burmese junta and ethnic groups.

“I think it was a cautious beginning and an initial meeting, and will obviously require time and patience as we continue these discussions,” said Crowley, adding that the Assistant Secretary also discussed concerns relating to Burma’s relationship with North Korea.

The meeting in New York, characterized as “an introductory meeting” was also attended by Deputy Assistant Secretary Scot Marciel and Burma’s permanent representative to the United Nations Than Swe.

Meanwhile, Senator James Webb, a strong advocate of engagement with the Burmese regime, on Wednesday hosts the US Senate Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific Affairs hearing on Burma where four prominent Burma experts gave their testimony on what the US’s policy should follow.

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