The United States on Friday lifted many of the decades-long economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar, Reuters reported. The official declaration follows an announcement made after US President Barack Obama met the former isolated country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi during her visit to Washington in September. Restrictions on Myanmar's military visas continue to remain in force as Washington is still wary of the military junta's involvement in politics.
In a letter addressing US House members, Obama said, "I have determined that the situation that gave rise to the national emergency...has been significantly altered by Burma's [Myanmar's] substantial advances to promote democracy, including historic elections in November 2015." The new development frees Myanmar from sanctions that were renewed by US presidents for the past two decades, as well as curbs on the import of jadeite and rubies from Myanmar.
Critics warned the US administration against a complete lifting of sanctions, arguing that the Western power will lose its leverage over the dominant military junta that ruled over the Southeast Asian nation for decades. Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi has also been accused of doing very little to address the atrocities against the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority in the country.