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Clinton holds landmark meeting with Myanmar president

December 1, 2011 |  3:43 am

REPORTING FROM NEW DELHI — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Myanmar’s leaders Thursday, calling for an end to human rights abuses, military and nuclear ties with North Korea and the holding of political prisoners.

The landmark visit to the long-isolated country, also known as Burma, represents a gamble for the Obama administration, namely that Myanmar is committed enough to reform that it won’t backtrack or mount a bloody crackdown as it has in the past, embarrassing Washington and its Western allies.

Clinton said the U.S. was ready to improve relations with the nation, provided it continued moving toward democracy.

"The United States is prepared to walk the path of reform with you if you keep moving in the right direction," Clinton told Myanmar President Thein Sein in the presence of reporters after their meeting in Myanmar's ornate presidential palace, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Thein Sein welcomed Clinton on a visit he termed a "milestone," adding shortly before the meeting: "Your excellency's visit will be historic and a new chapter in relations."

After meeting with Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and top parliamentary officials in Naypyidaw, Myanmar's new capital, Clinton was scheduled to fly to the business center of Yangon later in the day for a private dinner with Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader.

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— Mark Magnier

 

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