Manama Voices: Dialogue line-up announced

First meeting of the Syrian National Coalition, Doha, November 2012

First meeting of the Syrian National Coalition, Doha, November 2012

Mustafa Sabbagh, the secretary-general of the recently formed Syrian National Coalition, will take part in a  special session on Syria that opens the 8th IISS Regional Security Summit tonight. He will be joined by  Mike Rogers, the chairman of the US House Committee on Intelligence,  Naci Koru, the Turkish deputy foreign minister, and Wu Sike, the Chinese special envoy to the Middle East.

On Saturday morning, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Senator John McCain will debate the US role in the Middle East. Other speakers announced today include British Foreign Secretary William Hague, former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Senior military and security officials from the US, France and India will join colleagues from the region for sessions on security in the Strait of Hormuz, Syria and regional security and counter-terrorism on Sunday.

Read the full speaker agenda

Agenda in Arabic

Myanmar: Coming in from the cold?

People in Aung San Suu Kyi masks (by lewishamdreamer from Flickr used under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) By Oliver Elliott, Editorial Assistant
Could it be the beginning of the end for the sanctions regime on Myanmar? Yesterday Australia became the first country to loosen sanctions with the easing of travel and financial restrictions on some of the country’s leadership. Although only a tentative first step, the move comes as part of a broader push by the West to recognise and reward the reforms being enacted by Myanmar’s government.In December, Hillary Clinton made the first visit to the country by a US Secretary of State in five decades, offering to loosen some restrictions on international financial assistance and development programmes if the current rate of reform is maintained. She also suggested that the US might be willing to consider easing sanctions, which currently include an arms embargo, travel restrictions on political leaders and ban on any American individual or organisation doing new business with the country. Just a month later, British Foreign Secretary William Hague made his own equally historic trip to offer rewards in return for further reform. A few Western businesses are already anticipating a return to Myanmar in the near future.

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