Britain’s Cameron Begins Historic Burma Visit

Posted April 13th, 2012 at 3:15 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Burma Friday on the first visit by a Western leader in half a century.

During his one-day visit, Mr. Cameron is due to meet with President Thein Sein in the administrative capital of Naypytaw before traveling to Rangoon for talks with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose political party claimed a landslide victory in parliamentary by-elections this month.

Mr. Cameron told the BBC on Thursday that Britain could soon ease sanctions on Burma, but he said he wanted to witness the changes first-hand before making any decisions.

His five-day Southeast Asian tour has also included visits to Indonesia and Malaysia.

The United States announced last week it is easing some sanctions on Burma, including restrictions on travel and investment. Other Western nations are also re-examining their policies following April 1 by-elections in which Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy captured 43 of 45 available seats.

She and her allies will take their seats on April 23, becoming the main opposition party in a parliament dominated by military-backed political parties.

The NLD boycotted the 2010 elections that ended decades of military rule in Burma. Since taking office a year ago, President Thein Sein has enacted a series of democratic reforms, including greater press freedom and the release of many political prisoners.