3 Dec 2011

Clinton offers some aid if Myanmar reforms

10:15 am on 3 December 2011

The American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has ended a historic trip to Myanmar with an offer of improved relations in return for further reforms.

She urged Myanmar's government to cut ties with North Korea, free 200 political prisoners, end the repression of ethnic minorities, easing some restrictions on the media and civil society, and rewrite the election and labour laws.

In return, the US has committed to ease some restrictions on aid and development programmes. It is offering $1.2 million in new aid that would support healthcare and the victims of landmines.

Ms Clinton did not however indicate that economic sanctions will be lifted any time soon.

Some progress, says Suu Kyi

After talks with the leaders of Mynamar's military-backed government, Mrs Clinton met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

at her home on the shore of Inya Lake, where she was under house arrest until her release 13 months ago.

A large international media pack attended and filmed in the garden, where Ms Suu Kyi said there had been some progress towards democracy but that more work needed to be done.

She welcomed US engagement with her country, saying she hopes it will set it on the road to democracy.

"I am very confident that if we work together... there will be no turning back from the road to democracy," Ms Suu Kyi said.

At a private dinner Ms Clinton hand-delivered a personal letter from President Barack Obama thanking Ms Suu Kyi for her "inspiration" to people around the world and saying the US will stand by her "now and always".