US Senator Arrives in Burma for Talks

Posted June 1st, 2011 at 5:20 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Senator John McCain has arrived in Burma for a three-day visit during which he expects to meet with senior government officials and with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The senator was expected to meet government officials later Wednesday in Naypyitaw, the Burmese administrative capital. He plans to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday in Rangoon.

On Tuesday in Bangkok, McCain told reporters he would urge leaders of the new Burmese government to release an estimated 2,200 political prisoners. He also said he would urge the government not to interfere with a planned tour of Burma's provinces announced this week by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Nobel Peace laureate said she will leave within weeks on the tour, her first since a similar trip in 2003 that ended with her arrest.

In advance of his trip, Senator McCain visited the biggest refugee camp for Burmese in Thailand, at Mae Sot. Tens of thousands of refugees there are waiting either to return home or to be resettled elsewhere.

McCain is a former U.S. Navy pilot who spent six years in a prisoner of war camp during the Vietnam War. He later became a leading advocate of reconciliation between the former enemies.