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Clinton Urges Myanmar To Carry Out Broader Reforms


Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Myo Myint (right) welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton upon her arrival in Naypyitaw on November 30.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Myanmar to continue and expand reforms after decades of military rule and international isolation.

Clinton is on a visit to Myanmar, the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the Southeast Asian nation in half a century.

Clinton, speaking after talks with President Thein Sein, said the United States was prepared to consider improving relations with Myanmar and easing economic sanctions, provided the leadership stays firmly on the path toward democratization.

"Any steps that the [Myanmar] government takes will be carefully considered and will be, as I said, matched, because we want to see political and economic reform take hold," Clinton said. "And I told the leadership that we will certainly consider the easing and elimination of sanctions as we go forward in this process together."

She also called on Myanmar to break suspected military, missile, and nuclear cooperation with North Korea, which is under UN sanctions over its nuclear weapons program.

Sein said Clinton's visit would open "a new chapter" in relations with Washington.

Clinton later traveled to the city of Yangon where she met with opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest during the military rule.

The two met for a private dinner at the home of the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Myanmar before a more formal meeting at Suu Kyi's residence on December 2.

Myanmar's military regime annulled the 1990 elections that Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won.

Suu Kyi has said she plans to run in planned upcoming elections.

compiled from agency reports