Clinton Dangles Aid to Burma

Will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi today
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2011 6:54 AM CST
Hillary Clinton meets with Thura Shwe Mann, speaker of the Lower House of Myanmar Parliament, at the Parliamentary Compound in Naypyidaw, Myanmar's administrative capital, Dec. 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

(Newser) – Hillary Clinton had what she described as a “candid, productive” meeting with Burma President Thein Sein and other officials in Naypyitaw today, offering support for more aid to the country, and dangling the possibility that the US might lift sanctions and station an ambassador there for the first time in decades, Reuters reports. In exchange, Clinton urged the leadership to release political prisoners, end ethnic conflicts, stop its suspicious dealings with North Korea, and build on promised democratic reforms.

“The president told me he hopes to build on these steps, and I assured him that these reforms have our support,” Clinton said. She also said that an American ambassador could “become an important channel to air concerns, monitor and support progress, and build trust." But she warned that if sanctions were to be lifted, progress “has to be not theoretical or rhetorical, it has to be very real, on the ground, that can be evaluated."

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