2014 was a mixed year for U.S. relations with Burma (Myanmar). During his visit to Burma in November 2014, President Obama praised President Thein Sein for the release of child soldiers and political prisoners, and stated that the democratization process in Burma was both “real” and “incomplete.” Over 40 Representatives, however, questioned decisions to undertake new initiatives in Burma while reforms appear to have stalled or even reversed. 2015 may be pivotal for Burma’s political reform and U.S. relations with Burma. Burma is tentatively scheduled to hold nationwide parliamentary elections in November, the results of which many analysts see as a bellwether for the prospects for further political reforms. Efforts to conclude a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) to end nearly six decades of low-grade civil war will continue in 2015. The Thein Sein government will likely have to address the continuing ethnic crisis in Rakhine State and will likely revise its initial plan to address the plight of the Rohingya. Other pressing issues for Burma are the continued arrest and detention of political prisoners and the incomplete fulfillment of President Thein Sein’s “11 commitments” made during Obama’s first visit in 2012 (see below).
Date of Report: 4/27/2015
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