US says Kerry broke no sanctions on Myanmar hotel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon on August 10, 2014The United States said Tuesday that Secretary of State John Kerry technically abided his own government’s laws after he stayed in Myanmar at a hotel owned by a sanctioned tycoon. Myanmar, the host of talks this week among Southeast Asian foreign ministers in its showcase capital Naypyidaw, put up Kerry and his entourage at the Lake Garden hotel, which is owned by tycoon Zaw Zaw’s Max Myanmar Group. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that Kerry was assigned the hotel by Myanmar’s foreign ministry and that, while Zaw Zaw himself was blacklisted, US law does not prohibit Americans from staying at accommodation owned by sanctioned companies. Harf insisted that the choice of hotel did not conflict with the US push for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, to do more on human rights.

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