US to Engage Burmese Junta

Clinton announces change in policy, says sanctions will remain
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 6:09 AM CDT
Myanmar riot police take a break during a city patrol as an appeal of the detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is heard at a court in Insein Prison in Rangoon last month.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)
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(Newser) – The US will directly engage with Burma's military leadership in addition to its current sanctions, Hillary Clinton said yesterday. The secretary of State acknowledged that sanctions alone had failed to change "the lack of democracy in Burma and the authorities’ abysmal record on human rights," and it was time for a strategy change.

"Engagement versus sanctions is a false choice in our opinion," Clinton said after talks at the UN General Assembly. "So, going forward we will be employing both of those tools, pursuing our same goals." A spokesman for imprisoned opposition leader's Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy said the party agreed with the decision to engage with Burmese authorities as long as pressure was kept on the junta, the Wall Street Journal reports.