Burma Welcomes New US Envoy

Posted September 9th, 2011 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States says its special envoy to Burma travels to Rangoon Saturday and is expecting to meet there with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Derek Mitchell held talks Friday with leaders of Burma's new nominally civilian government in the administrative capital Naypyitaw.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman says Mitchell saw Burma's ministers of foreign affairs, labor, social welfare, information and border affairs, and says he also met with the secretary-general of the Union of Solidarity and Development Party and with some parliamentary leaders.

The United States says the objective of the trip is to build on the U.S. administration's effort to have dialogue and engagement with Burma.

The trip is Mitchell's first visit to Burma since being confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate last month. President Barack Obama nominated him to the post as part of the administration's new strategy of engagement. Mr. Obama changed Washington's position after he was advised in 2009 that U.S. sanctions imposed on Burma's then-ruling military junta were not working.

The long-ruling military regime was replaced with a new government after elections last year. But international critics called the vote a sham, since a party backed by the military won the most parliamentary seats.