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U.S. President Barack Obama has named Derek Mitchell as the first U.S. ambassador to Myanmar in more than 20 years, in a move marking the restoration of full diplomatic relations.

Obama made the announcement hours after easing investment restrictions on Myanmar but keeping in place wider sanctions against former leaders of the military junta.

Obama's move followed calls from business and political figures in the United States, Europe, and Asia to lift sanctions, and warnings by veteran democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi against excessive optimism over a political opening.

The views of Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, are considered critical to any U.S. decision to lift sanctions on Myanmar.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP