Clinton Holds Talks With Burmese Leaders

Posted January 14th, 2012 at 6:45 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Burma can improve relations with the United States if it releases all remaining political prisoners, ends violence against minorities and cuts military ties with North Korea.

In a telephone call Saturday with the country's Foreign Minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, Clinton said that Washington is committed to walking down the path of reform with the people and government of Burma. The two also discussed restoring diplomatic relations.

The U. S. secretary of state also spoke with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In a statement released after the talks, Secretary Clinton said she told the two Burmese leaders that Washington is prepared to meet action with action.

The talks come a day after the Burmese government released hundreds of political prisoners. The new nominally civilian government took over in March of last year and has made significant steps toward democracy.

In response, the United States and other western countries have reached out to Burma, calling for the release of all the remaining political prisoners, efforts at reconciliation and more democratic reforms before international sanctions against the country can be lifted.

Secretary Clinton visited Burma in November and Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague made a trip there earlier this month.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is currently in Burma on a similar mission. He is expected to urge Burma to hold transparent and democratic by-elections April 1.

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will participate in the elections thanks to the changes the new government made in election laws.