Myanmar, UN discuss strengthening ties

November 19, 2011 10:23

Myanmar and the United Nations discussed strengthening cooperation on Saturday, Myanmar's foreign minister said, in another sign of the reclusive state's sudden engagement with the world after a half-century of isolation and oppressive rule.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said separately in a briefing he had accepted an invitation from Myanmar President Thein Sein to visit the Southeast Asian country "as soon as possible." Such a visit could happen within a few months, Ban's special advisor for Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, said.

Myanmar has embarked on a series of reforms since the army nominally handed power in March to civilians after the first elections in two decades, a process mocked at the time as a sham to seal authoritarian rule behind a democratic facade.

Its overtures have since included calls for peace with ethnic minority groups, some tolerance of criticism, an easing of media controls, the release of about 230 political prisoners and more communication with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed last year from 15 years of house arrest.

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