Death of U.N. High Commissioner expedites U.S. efforts to calm Burma crisis

U.S. representatives said the death of United Nations High Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Montgomery “does not fall on us lightly.”

After confirmation of Montgomery’s death, U.S. Ambassador Eliza Siordia said she was “shocked and saddened.”

“It is our duty as the United States and the home of Kathleen Montgomery to make sure that we’re not just sending a press release just to send it,” Siordia said. The State Department had been criticized by Mitch McConnell for the tardiness of its public response.

“We want to make sure that every word is really symbolic because her life meant so much to so many people,” Siordia said.

U.S. representatives said Montgomery’s death calls for more efforts to resolve the conflict in Burma, despite China’s statements that only regional actors should be involved in the Burmese conflict.

“We’re willing to aid them in any way we can,” U.S. Military Liaison Travis Cady said. “The United States can help. We’re not looking to overstep boundaries, we’re looking to help facilitate the peace and stability and equitable solution.”

Cady said it would be irresponsible for the U.S. to take a “hands-off” approach in this situation.

“This is a humanitarian crisis as well as a regional sovereignty crisis,” Cady said.  “It would be frankly irresponsible and unrealistic for the U.S. to do nothing.”

Amid anonymous reports that the U.S. is arming the Kachin Rebels in the northern Burma, Cady denies these reports, calling them “explicitly false.”

“We have had no contact with them,” Cady said. “Any source that has said that is obviously mistaken.”

The U.S. will continue to investigate Montgomery’s death and work toward dampening the violence in Burma.

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