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US to consult India, China on its Burma policy

September 29, 2009 13:03 IST

Announcing its policy to enter into a dialogue with Myanmar's military junta, the Barack Obama administration on Tuesday said it would actively consult and seek the help of countries like India and China as part of its new Burma policy.

"We will intensify our engagement with Association of South East Asian Nations, China, and India to press the Burmese leadership to reform and to participate responsibly in the international community," Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Public Affairs, Kurt Campbell said.

Announcing that the Barack Obama administration intends to begin a direct dialogue with Burmese authorities to lay out a path towards better relations, Campbell said: "The dialogue will include specific discussion of democracy and human rights inside Burma, cooperation on international security issues such as nonproliferation and compliance with UN resolutions 1874 and 1718, and areas that could be of mutual benefit such as counter-narcotics and recovery of World War II era remains."

At the same time, he insisted that US would not lift sanctions until it sees concrete progress towards reform. "Lifting sanctions now would send the wrong signal. We will tell the Burmese that we will discuss easing sanctions only if they take actions on our core concerns. We will reserve the option to apply additional targeted sanctions, if warranted, by events inside Burma," Campbell said.

Reaffirming that its fundamental goals in Burma remain the same, Campbell said the Obama Administration supports a unified, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Burma that respects the human rights of its citizens. "To that end, we will continue to push for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, an end to conflicts with ethnic minorities and gross human rights violations and initiation of a credible internal political dialogue with the democratic opposition and ethnic minority leaders on elements of reconciliation and reform," Campbell said.

"We will also press Burma to comply with its international obligations, including on nonproliferation, ending any prohibited military or proliferation-related cooperation with North Korea, and full compliance with United Nations 1874 and 1718," CampbellĀ said.

"If Burma makes meaningful progress towards these goals, it will be possible to improve the relationship with the United States in a step-by-step process. We recognise that this will likely be a long and difficult process, and we are prepared to sustain our efforts on this front," Campbell said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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