Global Politics

After Burma Elections: Time to Lift Sanctions?

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Aung San Suu Kyi on the stump last month (Photo: National League for Democracy, Burma)

day after breakthrough elections in Myanmar, also known as Burma, there's talk of lifting some international sanctions long imposed on the country and its rulers.

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"We hope that this will be the beginning of a new era," said opposition icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, "where there will be more emphasis on the role of the people in the everyday politics of our country." Her National League for Democracy won most of the 45 parliamentary seats up for grabs.

The European commission said today Europe could begin lifting sanctions within weeks.

Washington is being more cautious. Many political prisoners remain in jail, and the ruling council remains in control of all branches of government.

But Priscilla Clapp would like see rapid progress toward lifting sanctions against Burma.

Clapp was the chief of the US Mission in Burma from 1999 to 2002.

She's now retired from the diplomatic service and speaking with Marco Werman, and remains in close touch with her many friends in Burma, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

"People are ecstatic the elections turned out to be free, because they didn't know until the last minute," Clapp tells Marco Werman.

She says that's also key to many lawmakers in Washington, pondering when to ease sanctions. "We were waiting to see the results of these elections and how the elections were conducted."

She called on Congress to take immediate action.