Ease sanctions on Myanmar
Supporters pack a truck with the hope of seeing democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on her visit to her constituency for the parliamentary elections April 1, 2012 in Myanmar.
April 2nd, 2012
08:21 AM ET

Ease sanctions on Myanmar

Editor's note: Suzanne DiMaggio is vice president of global policy programs at the Asia Society (Follow her on Twitter). Priscilla Clapp is a retired minister-counselor in the U.S. Foreign Service and former Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Burma.

By Suzanne DiMaggio and Priscilla Clapp - Special to CNN

Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's victory in Myanmar's by-elections on Sunday represents the nascent return of opposition politics to the country after nearly half a century of military rule. It also has created an opportunity for the United States to begin easing economic sanctions that are hindering reform.

Aung San Suu Kyi, kept under house arrest by the government for 15 years, won a seat in the parliament with a handy plurality.

Votes continue to be tallied, but reports indicate that her National League for Democracy (NLD) party captured most of the 45 seats up for grabs. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will maintain its grip on the majority of the 662 seats in the Union Parliament, but now opposition members will have a voice in lawmaking.

The international community should take this moment to encourage Myanmar's moves toward liberalization. For the United States, the time has come to seriously address its myriad financial sanctions on Myanmar to ensure that they are not working at cross-purposes with reform efforts.

Read on here.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Despite frail health Aung San Suu Kyi crisscrossed Myanmar. Her arduous campaign has borne fruit. Now she must muster enough strength to push for further reforms, in a parliament still dominated by the military. She'll also need to continue to nurture her relationship with President Thein Sein. Both have taken historic steps to get to this stage. Suu Kyi's resources lie in her voice, yet it's time for her to groom a successor within the party. She's 66 and not physically strong.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Of course easing sanctions will enable the West to invest in Myanmar. The country needs technology to develop. Aung San Suu Kyi still seems to be lost in our age of social media.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:27 am | Reply
  2. Benedict

    When a baby take the first encouragement should be the watch word. However,let‘s not get too carried away by Myanmar‘s elections,but watch what the ruling party does in relation to the opposition1

    April 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  3. krm1007

    The probability that Burma will succeed in its path to progress are minimal.....not because that it does not have the potential but by the unfortunate fact that it borders India. India has a history of meddling in the internal affairs of its fledgling neighbors and ensure they remain mired in poverty. Just look at the map and the picture will emerge. At some point these neighbors will form a joint front against India to tackle this nuisance. I very much doubt India will survive 2012 without being broken up into independent ethnic states along the lines of USSR.

    April 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply

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