US Embassy Burma: “Routine Security Drill” Triggers Bomb Scare in Yangon

Posted: 2:36 am ET
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US Embassy Burma: Amb Marciel Presents Credentials, Monks Protest Use of Word #Rohingya

Posted:1:52 am ET
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Meanwhile — local monks protested at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon for its use of the word “Rohingya” in its statement (PDF) about the events in Rakhine State:

The U.S. Embassy is deeply concerned about recent events in Rakhine State. We were saddened by the news about those who tragically lost their lives after a boat capsized near Thae Chaung in Sittwe Township on April 19 and we extend our condolences to the families of the victims, who local reports state were from the Rohingya community. Restrictions on access to markets, livelihoods, and other basic services in Rakhine State can lead to communities unnecessarily risking their lives in an attempt to improve their quality of life.

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US Embassy Rangoon Celebrates Thingyan, the Burmese New Year Water Festival

Posted: 2:35 am ET
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The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon celebrated the the Burmese New Year Water Festival which usually falls around mid-April. It is a Buddhist festival celebrated over a period of four to five days, culminating in the New Year.

 

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U.S. Embassy Rangoon: Ambassador Derek Mitchell Concludes Burma Assignment (Updated)

Posted: 2:58 am EDT
Updated: 12:38 am EDT
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On March 15, Secretary Kerry issued a statement officially congratulating Htin Kyaw on his election as Burma’s next president. The Aung San Suu Kyi’s confidant is the the country’s first civilian president in five decades.  According to NYT, Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from the presidency by a clause in the military-drafted Constitution that forbids people with foreign relatives from holding the office. She has two sons who are British, as was her husband, Dr. Michael Aris who died in 1999.

On the same day, Ambassador Mitchell and his wife, Min also officially concluded their three and a half years in Burma, according to the embassy’s FB page, “at the same place where they started, with a visit to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.”  Ambassador Derek Mitchell served as a special representative to Myanmar (Burma) from August 2011 until he was appointed ambassador in June 2012. President Obama visited Burma, the first by a sitting U.S. president in 2012 and in 2014. hosted then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit in 2011, and President Barack Obama in his 2012 (the first by a sitting U.S. president) and 2014 visits.   Correction: Michael E. Thurston was the Chargè d’affaires to Burma in 2011/2012 and was the top representative in country when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Burma in 2011. Apologies for the error.

The new Ambassador to Burma Scot Marciel was sworn-in by Secretary Kerry early this month.

 

 

Below is the U.S. Embassy’s Thingyan video from 2015 featuring Ambassador and Mrs. Mitchell with the mission staff and some photos:

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Related item:

Ambassador Mitchell’s Speech at MISIS (February 22, 2016)

 

Secretary Kerry Swears-In the Next U.S. Ambassador to Burma Scot Marciel

Posted: 12:16 am EDT
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Ambassador Marciel will succeed Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell who was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Burma on June 29, 2012. We understand that Ambassador Mitchell is expected to depart Rangoon in mid-March after three and a half years at post.

 

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Photo of the Day: Can you hear me now? — Secretary Kerry in Burma

Via state.gov

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strikes a bell three times while visiting the Buddhist Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, on August 10, 2014. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strikes a bell three times while visiting the Buddhist Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, on August 10, 2014. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Related items:

-08/09/14  U.S. Assistance to Burma; Office of the Spokesperson; Washington, DC
-08/09/14  U.S. Companies in Burma: Doing Business Responsibly; Office of the Spokesperson; Washington, DC

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Officially Moved: Derek J. Mitchell – from Special Rep for Burma to Burma

On May 17 President Obama announced his intent to nominate Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell as the next ambassador to the Union of Burma. The WH released the following bio:

Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell is Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, with the rank of Ambassador, having been appointed by President Obama in August 2011.  Previously, he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.  Before joining the Administration in 2009, Ambassador Mitchell served as Senior Fellow and Director for Asia in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).  He concurrently served as founding Director of the CSIS Southeast Asia Initiative, which was inaugurated in 2008.  From 1997 to 2001, Ambassador Mitchell was Special Assistant for Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  During this time, his roles included Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Hong Kong (2000-2001), Director for Regional Security Affairs (1998-2000), Senior Country Director for the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore (1998-1999), and Country Director for Japan (1997-1998).  Before joining the Department of Defense, he worked at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs as Senior Program Officer for Asia and the Former Soviet Union (1996-1997), and as Program Officer for Asia (1993-1996).  He began his career as Assistant to the Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Ambassador Mitchell received a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

The last Senate-confirmed Ambassador to Burma was career diplomat, Burton Levin who served from 1987-1990. No ambassador was appointed to replace Levin, and there has been no U.S. ambassador in Burma since then.

More than a half dozen chargé d’affaires have been appointed head of mission in Rangoon since then:

  • Franklin P. Huddle, Jr. (September 1990–September 1994) – later became Ambassador to Tajikistan
  • Marilyn Meyers (September 1994–October 1996)
  • Kent M. Wiedemann (October 1996–May 1999) – later became Ambassador to Cambodia
  • Priscilla A. Clapp (July 1999–August 2002)
  • Carmen Maria Martinez (August 2002–August 2005) – later became Ambassador to Zambia in 2005-2008
  • Shari Villarosa (August 2005–September 2008) – officially nominated as Ambassador to Port Louis and The Seychelles in November 2011, nomination currently stuck in Senate.
  • Larry M. Dinger (September 2008–August 2011) – previously U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu from July 2005 to June 2008 and U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (2002–2004)
  • Michael Thurston (August 2011–2012) – previously Consul General at USCG Melbourne, Australia (2008-2011) and prior to that he was the Team Leader of PRT Diyala, Iraq (2007-2008).

Domani Spero

Related item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | May 17, 2012