- Myanmar increases contacts with Western officials
- U.S. delegation to hold talks with the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
- Authorities released Suu Kyi in 2010 after years of house arrest
U.S. diplomats will meet with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi this week in another sign of thawing relations between Washington and the Southeast Asian nation.
A spokesman for Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy, Thein Oo told CNN that an American delegation, including Derek Mitchell, the U.S. special envoy to Myanmar, is scheduled to meet with Suu Kyi on Thursday.
Mitchell and U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Human Trafficking Luis CdeBaca met with top government officials on Monday, the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.
"They frankly discussed matters related to improving mutual ties between Myanmar and (the) U.S. and mutual cooperation," the newspaper reported.
Myanmar has been ruled by a military junta since 1962, and the generals have started to loosen their grip on the country after coming under criticism for their human rights record in recent years. Thein Sein, a former military official and prime minister, became president last year as a result of an election criticized by democracy activists as a sham.
Myanmar authorities released Suu Kyi in 2010 after years of house arrest and then freed dozens of political prisoners in October 2011. She met with William Hague, the first British foreign secretary to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years, last week.
Burma was a part of British India from 1886 until gaining its independence in 1948. Since 1989, the ruling military has said the nation should be called Myanmar, but some Western nations still refer to it as Burma.