WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2015) — The White House Office of the Press Secretary on Friday released President Barack Obama’s notice and message to the Congress on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Burma.
U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes welcomed to the White House senior officials from all ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a warm and productive discussion on the U.S.-ASEAN relationship. Mr. Rhodes underscored President Obama’s strong personal commitment to the U.S.-ASEAN relationship and to his strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region, and noted that the President looks forward to attending the U.S.-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit later this year in Malaysia.
Mr. Rhodes discussed the broad agenda for cooperation between the United States and ASEAN on many political, security, economic, and people-to-people issues. In particular, Mr. Rhodes discussed maritime security and ongoing concerns regarding China’s extensive land reclamation in the South China Sea, and he expressed continued U.S. support for ASEAN’s efforts to conclude a Code of Conduct with China, and for a resolution of differences consistent with international law.
Noting that Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia already host substantial migrant communities, Mr. Rhodes expressed our concerns over the tragic circumstances faced by Rohingya and other migrants at sea, and urged ASEAN countries to work expeditiously to save lives while also pursuing the broader efforts that are necessary to improve conditions in Rakhine state and address underlying challenges that contribute to the migration.
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to Burma that was declared on May 20, 1997, is to continue in effect beyond May 20, 2015.
The Government of Burma has made significant progress across a number of important areas, including the release of over 1,300 political prisoners, continued progress toward a nationwide cease-fire, the discharge of hundreds of child soldiers from the military, steps to improve labor standards, and expanding political space for civil society to have a greater voice in shaping issues critical to Burma’s future.
In addition, Burma has become a signatory of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol and ratified the Biological Weapons Convention, significant steps towards supporting global nonproliferation. Despite these strides,the situation in the country continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.Concerns persist regarding the ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in the country, particularly in ethnic minority areas and Rakhine State. In addition, Burma’s military operates with little oversight from the civilian government and often acts with impunity. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Burma.
Despite this action, the United States remains committed to supporting and strengthening Burma’s reform efforts and to continue working both with the Burmese government and people to
ensure that the democratic transition is sustained and irreversible.
THE WHITE HOUSE
May 15, 2015
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY
WITH RESPECT TO BURMA
On May 20, 1997, the President issued Executive Order 13047, certifying to the Congress under section 570(b) of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997 (Public Law 104-208), that the Government of Burma had committed large-scale repression of the democratic opposition in Burma after September 30, 1996, thereby invoking the prohibition on new investment in Burma by United States persons contained in that section. The President also declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701-1706, to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the
actions and policies of the Government of Burma.
The actions and policies of the Government of Burma continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on May 20, 1997, and the measures adopted to deal with that emergency in Executive Orders 13047 of May 20, 1997; 13310 of July 28, 2003; 13448 of October 18, 2007; 13464 of April 30, 2008; 13619 of July 11, 2012; and 13651 of August 6, 2013, must continue in effect beyond May 20, 2015. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to Burma declared in Executive Order 13047. This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
THE WHITE HOUSE
May 15, 2015