New Delhi (Mizzima) – The U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, arrived in Rangoon on Monday on a two-day official visit.
Observers say he may be carrying a message to put pressure on the government to speed up the release of political prisoners. He is also expected to discuss fighting in ethnic areas, according to wire services.
National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Ohn Kyaing said he hopes Mitchell can find time to meet with NLD leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit.
An embassy spokesperson: “Ambassador Mitchell plans to visit Burma frequently to build on our ongoing principled engagement including dialogue with the Burmese government and local stakeholders. He uses every opportunity to raise with Burmese authorities our longstanding core concerns, including theneed for the release of all political prisoners, dialogue with the opposition and ethnic minorities, adherence to Burma’s international obligations on nonproliferation, and end to violence against ethnic minorities.”
This is Mitchell’s second visit to Burma. In September, he met with both the government and NLD leaders. At that time, he said that there had been improvements in Burma’s internal politics and move toward democracy.
Since the military coup in Burma in September 1988, the U.S. had not appointed an ambassador to Burma, lowering the level of its diplomatic relationship with the nation.
When Mitchell was nominated in the U.S. Congress as the special representative and policy coordinator for Burma, Suu Kyi welcomed his nomination, saying that she hoped Burma would get genuine help from him.
Mitchell served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from April 2009 until August 2011. Mitchell has extensive experience in Asia and China. He was appointed to his new position on August 15.