"Senior representatives of Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD), which is led by Aung San Suu Kyi, are calling on the international community to maintain economic sanctions against the country,” says Suzanne DiMaggio, Asia Society’s Vice President for Global Policy Programs. “As Burma’s military continues to consolidate its control within the new political system -- the most recent move was the election of Thein Sein, the former prime minister and public face of the junta, as the country’s president -- it proved extremely difficult for the NLD to support the dropping of sanctions. Instead, the opposition group is backing targeted sanctions aimed at actors in Burma’s formal economy, who are also its dominant political actors and their cronies, and not ordinary Burmese citizens. To ensure that U.S. sanctions against Burma are targeted, the United States should act now to appoint a Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma to better coordinate sanctions implementation via an ongoing research team that maps where and with whom these individuals engage in business. Additionally, a U.S. Special Representative should be charged with facilitating expanded engagement with Burma’s military leaders, as well as with a wide range of groups inside the country, including ethnic and opposition groups.”
Suzanne, who is based in New York, is Director of the Asia Society’s Task Force on U.S. Policy toward Burma/Myanmar. To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.