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Burmese Leader To Make First U.S. Visit In 47 Years

Burmese President Thein Sein (right) at a meeting in Rangoon (also known as Yangon) in November with U.S. President Barack Obama
President Thein Sein is due to make the first visit by a leader of Burma to the United States in almost 47 years.

Thein Sein is expected to meet on May 20 with President Barack Obama at the White House.

The visit is being seen as a gesture of U.S. support following a series of pro-democracy reforms after decades of repressive military rule in the southeast Asian country, which is also known as Myanmar.

Obama visited Burma in November, and the United States has gradually lifted most of its sanctions against the country following the release of political prisoners and reforms that have allowed Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy movement to freely contest elections.

Some critics say, however, that the reforms in Burma remain unfinished, citing cases of violence against minority Muslims.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP