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Clinton to meet Myanmar Prez on Friday: US official

world Updated: Jul 12, 2012 10:45 IST

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton will meet Myanmar President Thein Sein in Cambodia on Friday to discuss the easing of US sanctions on the once pariah state, a US official said.

The two leaders are to meet in Cambodian tourist town Siem Reap on the sidelines of a business conference, a senior state department official told reporters in Phnom Penh.

The meeting will come only two days after the United States eased sanctions on Myanmar, giving US companies a green light to invest in the southeast Asian nation including in the oil and gas sectors.

"President Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma continue to make significant progress along the path to democracy, and the government has continued to make important economic and political reforms," President Barack Obama said in a statement on Wednesday.

Clinton will host the largest ever gathering of American businesses in Asia at the Siem Reap talks, which will come hot on the heels of a barrage of meetings in Cambodia with southeast Asian and East Asian countries.

Clinton paid a historic visit to Myanmar in December where she met with Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar leaders. But it is believed that the United States also wants to recognise the role played by Thein Sein in effecting reforms.

Earlier this week another senior state department official said: "One of the things that's been very interesting is -- and quite rewarding -- is that it was only a year ago that we essentially had absolutely no contact with this country, almost no interaction.

"And now we're working with them on so many different areas."

But he acknowledged there were still issues about human rights, "so the key here is to be very careful and judicious in our overall approach, and we've sought to do that with respect to the economic opening as well".

Thein Sein on Thursday urged the West to lift all sanctions against his country as it seeks to implement a second wave of economic reforms.

"It is extremely important that sanctions be lifted -- both financial and other economic sanctions -- to make possible the sort of trade and investments that this country desperately needs at this time," he told the Financial Times.

Speaking to the paper from his presidential palace in Naypyidaw, he vowed to oversee a "second wave" of economic reforms and also rejected claims that the army still held power over the government.