May 17 - U.S. Secretary of State Clinton says the U.S. will lift sanctions barring U.S. investment in Myanmar, but will keep laws as ''an insurance policy.'' Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States will suspend sanctions barring American investment in Myanmar in response to political reforms, but will retain the laws as insurance against backsliding. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON, SAYING: "The United States will issue a general license that will enable American businesses to invest across the economy, allow citizens access to international credit markets and dollar-based transactions. So today, we say to American business, invest in Burma and do it responsibly. Be an agent of positive change." Clinton, standing side by side with her counterpart from Myanmar stressed that the laws underpinning U.S. sanctions would remain. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON, SAYING: "We will be keeping relevant laws on the books as an insurance policy, but our goal and our commitment is to move as rapidly as we can to expand business and investment opportunities." Clinton said the United States would maintain its arms embargo on Myanmar, and urged the country's new civilian-led government to take further steps to exert its control over the military, which ruled the country for decades. Thursday's announcement marked the latest step in a rapid rapprochement between the United States and the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma. Myanmar has witnessed a dramatic series of reforms that have seen Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi take a seat in parliament. In response, United States has promised to begin unwinding the complex web of U.S. sanctions that have contributed to the country's isolation and driven it closer to its powerful neighbor, China. Pro-democracy advocates have urged the United States to move cautiously, saying sanctions are an important tool to maintain pressure on Myanmar's government to follow through on pledges of greater democratic openness. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters