Friday, August 7, 2009

US Senator to visit Burma

The Irrawaddy News

The US Democratic senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, on Thursday announced that he will visit Burma as part of a five-nation tour in Asia.

Webb, who will arrive on Sunday, will be the first US lawmaker to visit Burma in a decade. No other details about the trip were available.

Webb is chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In a statement, Webb said besides visiting Burma, he would visit Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The purpose of the trip is to explore opportunities to advance US interests in Burma and the region, he said.

The statement said Webb has worked and traveled throughout Asia for nearly four decades, as a Marine Corps officer, a defense planner, a journalist, a novelist, a Department of Defense administrator and business consultant.

Meanwhile, the Burmese Prime Minister in Exile, Dr Sein Win of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, and officials of the National Council of the Union of Burma, have announced that they will present a plan to the United Nations on Friday proposing a way to unite the country.

The group will ask the UN Security Council and secretary-general to forward the plan to the military regime in Burma.

The plan, called “Proposal for National Reconciliation Towards Democracy & Development in Burma,” (PNRTDDB) is the result of an alliance of pro-democracy parties and ethnic groups, both inside and outside Burma.

The plan sets out detailed steps for a transition to democracy (T2D) in Burma, in association with members of the military regime.

Calling it a turning point in the history of Burma, Sein said: “For the first time, we have all come together to agree on a common platform for transition to democracy in Burma.”

“We are asking the United Nations and the international community to ensure that the regime engages in this dialogue, so that at last democracy and stability can be achieved in Burma,” he said.

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