WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the President’s announcement that he will be exercising his authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to renew U.S. sanctions on certain individuals and entities in Burma:

“Burmese democracy has made incredible strides in the last year, including an historic election and peaceful transition of power to the newly elected National League for Democracy government.  However, it’s critical that the United States continue using targeted sanctions, including the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, until further democratic consolidation takes place in Burma.  An important benchmark of Burma’s democratic consolidation will be the complete retreat of the military from all aspects of civilian political life.

“Also today, the Treasury Department announced several adjustments to American sanctions regulations to make it easier for our businesses and individuals to engage in legitimate business transactions in Burma and to bring much-needed capital and investment to the country.  While I’m sympathetic to the need for some modest changes to our sanctions regulations, I remain very concerned about the human-rights abuses on the part of certain individuals and entities, particularly in the Burmese mining sector.  The United States must strike the difficult balance of being responsive to changes on the ground in Burma, while also maintaining necessary leverage to hold corrupt individuals and entities accountable for their abuses.”