Marking a historic trip to Myanmar, a senior US lawmaker on met pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the country's military ruler Than Shew and secured the release of an American jailed for secretly visiting the residence of the detained leader.
Democrat Senator Jim Webb,
the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, became the first senior US official to meet the reclusive Myanmar General in the capital Naypyidaw.
Webb later had a nearly hour-long meeting with Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi at a government guesthouse near her home in Yangon, media reports said. This was the pro-democracy leader's first meeting with a foreign dignitary since she was sentenced to 18 more months of house arrest earlier this week.
The junta triggered global condemnation after a court convicted American John Yettaw and Suu Kyi over a May incident in which he swam uninvited into her Lakeside home. Suu Kyi was charged with violating the terms of her house arrest.
Webb succeeded in obtaining the release of Yettaw, his office in Washington said in a statement.
"Yettaw will be officially deported from Myanmar on Sunday morning. Senator Webb will bring him out of the country on a military aircraft that is returning to Bangkok on Sunday afternoon," it said.
The statement said Webb also appealed for the release of the pro-democracy leader, who has spent most of the last two decades under house arrest.