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Friday, December 2, 2011

Hillary Clinton bonds with Myanmar’s Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Aung San Suu Kyi for dinner in Rangoon during her historic visit to Burma.  State Department photo by William Ng / Dec 01, 2011 .  

A wonderful story has come out of Myanmar, of all places.  Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper report:

YANGON, Myanmar — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was presented during a historic three-day visit to Myanmar with two distinct sides to life in the isolationist and authoritarian country: the planned city of monstrous government offices and palaces built by a brutal military regime, and the Southeast Asian metropolis famed for temples and monks, where Clinton met a soul mate in opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Bidding for a dramatic advance of American influence in Asia, Clinton finished the visit Friday with a call for greater reform from a government long accustomed to iron-fisted rule. She invoked the promise of a new era of relations with the United States if the country also known as Burma delivered democratic change.

"The United States wants to be a partner with Burma," Clinton said Friday at Suu Kyi's home. "We want to work with you as you further democratization, as you release all political prisoners, as you begin the difficult but necessary process of ending the ethnic conflicts that have gone on far too long, as you hold elections that are free, fair, and credible."

If the immense but largely empty capital of Naypyidaw represented the harshness of the southeast Asian country's present, bustling Yangon offered glimpses of a brighter past – and possibly its future.

Lee and Klapper continue:

Finishing the first trip by a secretary of state to the nation in more than 50 years, Clinton and Suu Kyi held hands on the porch of the lakeside home where the Nobel peace laureate spent much of the past two decades under house arrest. Clinton thanked her for her "steadfast and very clear leadership."

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