the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

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

TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

May 15, 2014

Dear Mr. Speaker: (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, 2014.

The Government of Burma has made significant progress in a number of critical areas, including the release of over 1,100 political prisoners, progress towards a nationwide ceasefire, the legalization of unions, taking steps to improve the country's labor standards, and allowing greater freedom of association and expression. In addition, Burma signed an Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, a significant step towards supporting the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

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 remains nascent, and concerns persist regarding ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, particularly in Rakhine State, and the continued role of the military in the country's political and economic activities. Nonetheless, the United States is committed to supporting and strengthening Burma's reform efforts to ensure that the democratic transition is sustained and irreversible. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Burma.

Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA