US extends authority to impose Myanmar sanctions

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Associated Press

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Updated Thursday, May 2 at 1:04 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is extending by one year the president's authority to re-impose tough sanctions against Myanmar, a move to prevent backsliding on democratic reforms.

But to sweeten the pill, the administration is easing some of the U.S. visa restrictions imposed against Myanmar's former military regime to recognize the nation's dramatic shift from authoritarian rule.

The actions announced Thursday come as expectation mounts that Myanmar's reformist President Thein Sein will visit the White House this month. It would be the first such visit by a Myanmar leader since 1966.

Congressional staffers and a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the possible event, told The Associated Press such plans were developing.

The administration has made no announcement about such a visit.

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