White House ends 19 years of U.S. sanctions against Myanmar

By Doug G. Ware  |  Oct. 7, 2016 at 5:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- For almost two decades, the United States has maintained a state of emergency against Myanmar, but that designation was finally removed Friday by President Barack Obama.

The president formally dissolved the sanctions due to the Pacific nation's transition from a militant regime to more of an American ally.

Obama, in his order ending the 19-year state of emergency against the nation also known as Burma, said last year's democratic elections played a major part in the decision.

The emergency was imposed in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton and strengthened a decade later by the subsequent Bush administration. Clinton's act came eight years after martial law was declared in the country and Washington imposed strict trade restrictions.

The thawing of the declaration began about four years ago when Obama visited the country and met with democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now Myanmar's state counselor.

A return visit to Washington last month cemented the nations' improved relationship. During the visit, Obama lifted the decades-old trade tariffs against the country.

Removing a state of emergency against a foreign nation is a rare occurrence. The White House still maintains 31 declarations pending in the United States.

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