Mon, Jul 15, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Myanmar’s leader embarks on trip to London, Paris

AFP, YANGON, Myanmar

Burmese President Thein Sein left Myanmar yesterday for a visit to Britain and France, a Burmese official said, as the former junta general looks to build on support for his much-lauded reforms.

“The president left Yangon this morning to visit Britain and France,” a government official said without giving further details of the visit, Thein Sein’s second trip to Europe in months.

Another official earlier said the trip would be until Thursday.

BOLSTERING TIES

Thein Sein visited several European countries in March — although not Britain or France — to bolster relations.

He has surprised the international community by overseeing sweeping reforms since taking the presidency in 2011.

Those changes include freeing hundreds of political prisoners and welcoming democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party into parliament.

DEVELOPMENT

The EU, which had already ditched most sanctions except an arms embargo, has readmitted Myanmar to its trade preference scheme, saying it wanted to support reform in the once-pariah state through economic development.

Washington has also lifted most embargoes and foreign companies are now eager to enter the resource-rich nation, with its perceived frontier market of about 60 million potential consumers.

US President Barack Obama paid a first-ever US presidential visit to Myanmar in November last year, and Thein Sein visited Washington in May.

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