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Foreign Secretary chooses Burma as his first destination for 2012

Foreign Secretary William Hague is visiting Burma on 5 and 6 January for talks with political leaders including President Thein Sein, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of ethnic minorities.

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Commenting ahead of his visit, the Foreign Secretary said:

“This visit, the first by any British Foreign Secretary in more than half a century, has been made possible by the encouraging recent steps taken by the Burmese government.

“The release of some political prisoners, the dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, improvements in media freedoms, and changes to legislation that have enabled the National League for Democracy to participate in this year’s by-elections are welcome reforms which we urge the government to build on.

“I am visiting the country to encourage the Burmese government to continue on its path of reform, and to gauge what more Britain can do to support this process.

“Further steps are needed that will have a lasting impact on human rights and political freedom in Burma. In particular, we hope to see the release of all remaining political prisoners, free and fair by-elections, humanitarian access to people in conflict areas, and credible steps towards national reconciliation.”

Marking the visit, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi sent a message to post on the Foreign Secretary’s Facebook page. She will meet with him while he is in Burma.

Published 10 January 2012