US Expresses Doubts over Credibility of Burmese Election

(Irrawaddy) WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has expressed concern that the Burmese junta’s decision to release electoral laws without first moving toward

reconciliation with the opposition could cast serious doubts about the credibility of a general election to be held later this year.

“We are concerned by the Burmese authorities’ unilateral decision to begin releasing the election laws without first engaging in substantive dialogue with the democratic opposition or ethnic minority leaders,” said US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P. J. Crowley.

“We remain skeptical that the elections planned for this year will be credible and we urge the authorities to begin a genuine political dialogue with all stakeholders as a first step towards credible elections,” Crowley told reporters in response to a question.

The issue is expected to be discussed by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell when he meets with his Malaysian counterparts in Kuala Lumpur today.

Campbell, who is the administration’s point man for negotiations with the Burmese regime, has so far held two rounds of discussions with the military junta since late last year, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York that the US would pursue a new policy of simultaneous engagement and sanctions with the Burmese regime.

US State Department officials say, however, that the regime has yet to make any significant move since then, making it difficult to proceed with the next round of discussions with the military junta.

Meanwhile, for the second consecutive month, Burma has remained absent from the footnotes of the monthly agenda of the UN Security Council, indicating that none of the 15 members of the powerful UN body want to discuss the current situation in Burma.

 

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