the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Letter -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Burma

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

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, 2013.

The Government of Burma has made significant progress in a number of critical areas, including releasing hundreds of political prisoners, achieving cease-fire talks with the 11 armed ethnic groups, taking significant steps toward eliminating press censorship, and enabling the participation of opposition parties in the country's political system.

Despite great strides that Burma has made in its reform effort, the situation in the country continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The political opening is nascent, and concerns persist regarding remaining political prisoners, ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, and the country's continued military relationship with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The United States is committed to supporting and strengthening Burma's reform efforts to ensure that the democratic transition becomes irreversible. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Burma.