18 Nov 2011

Clinton to make groundbreaking visit to Myanmar

9:17 pm on 18 November 2011

The United States says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Myanmar next month, in another boost for the isolated nation's regime.

Mrs Clinton will be the first secretary of state to visit in 50 years.

Myanmar, generally known as Burma, was ruled by a brutal junta for decades, but the generals ceded power last year and the new government has undertaken important reforms.

Crucially, President Thein Sein has held a number of meetings with the democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was previously held under house arrest.

The president has also reformed election laws, and Ms Suu Kyi's political movement, which boycotted elections last year, has agreed to re-enter the political process.

In a statement, the National League for Democracy said it would re-register as a political party so it could contest future elections.

The US announcement comes a day after leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed that Myanmar could chair the regional bloc in 2014.