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‘Myanmar on road to democracy’

world Updated: Dec 03, 2011 01:01 IST
Hillary Clinton

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Friday she was confident about prospects for democratic reforms in Myanmar, after talks with United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton during a landmark visit.

In a meeting unthinkable little more than a year ago, Clinton held in-depth talks with the Nobel laureate at the crumbling lakeside mansion in Yangon where Suu Kyi spent most of the past two decades as a prisoner in her own home.

“It is, I think, a historic moment for both our countries because we hope from this meeting we will be able to proceed towards renewing the ties of friendship and understanding that bound our countries together since independence,” Suu Kyi said afterwards.

“I am very confident that if we work together ... there will be no turning back from the road to democracy,” she told reporters.

More needed to be done by the new military-backed regime, “but we hope to get there as soon as possible,” Suu Kyi added.

Clinton was on the final day of a historic three-day visit to the nation formerly known as Burma in which she offered incremental concessions to the regime, including easing restrictions on foreign assistance.

Suu Kyi and Clinton, two of the world’s best-known women, met face-to-face for the first time on Thursday for a private dinner at which the secretary of state hand-delivered a personal letter from President Barack Obama.The message thanked Suu Kyi for her “inspiration” to people around the world and said the United States would stand by her “now and always”.The Nobel Peace laureate is widely admired in Washington and her support is politically indispensable there for any move to reconcile with Myanmar.