Audit urges State to nix Burma democracy envoy

The special representative position was created by the Tom Lantos Block Burma JADE Act of 2008 and would require an act of Congress to eliminate. The position involves overseeing U.S. sanctions against the country and dialoguing with military and government officials and democracy activists.

“With the exception of congressional consultations, the ambassador on the ground in Burma can more effectively advance the remaining tasks than the senior adviser in EAP’s front office, who is fulfilling the Special Representative role,” the OIG said. “The Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma position is no longer necessary as it duplicates the efforts of Embassy Rangoon and a strengthened Burma desk.”

The report went on to praise the State Department's larger “pivot to Asia,” but recommended a stronger focus on economic development and trade.

“Over the last 4 years, EAP’s front office leadership team helped drive a significant intensification in U.S. foreign policy engagement with the Asia-Pacific region,” the OIG said. “EAP has done much to bring its activities in line with this change in focus, first called a pivot and subsequently a rebalance.”

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