President Barack Obama to visit Burma

Fresh from his election win, Barack Obama will this month become the first US president to visit Burma, the White House says.

He will meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein.

It is part of a three-leg tour from 17 to 20 November that will also take in Thailand and Cambodia.

The government of Burma has begun implementing economic, political and other reforms, a process the Obama administration sought to encourage.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was previously the most senior US official to go to Burma when she visited in December 2011.

The Burma stop is part of a trip built around the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

The US has appointed a full ambassador to Burma and suspended sanctions to reward the country for political prisoner releases and the election of Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to parliament.

America is also set to ease its import ban on goods from Burma, a key part of remaining US sanctions.

Analysts say the Obama administration sees in the country’s political changes an opportunity to help counter the influence of China in the region.

Human rights groups are likely to criticise Mr Obama’s visit as premature, given that the ruling government has failed to prevent outbreaks of communal violence in the west of the country.

Source: BBC

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