Jan. 13 - The U.S. announced plans to step up its diplomatic presence in Myanmar following the release of 200 political prisoners. Deborah Gembara reports.
Warming relations between the U.S. and Myanmar. The United States welcomed the release of 200 political prisoners in Myanmar by announcing plans to exchange ambassadors with the country. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying: "We will identify a candidate to serve as U.S. ambassador, to represent the United States government and our broader efforts to strengthen and deepen our ties with both the people and the government " The U.S. downgraded its diplomatic presence in Myanmar in1988 after a military coup and violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the country. The release of the prisoners by Myanmar along with a series of reforms by the government have prompted the U.S. to also consider removing economic sanctions. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying: "This is a momentous day for the diverse people of Burma and we will continue to support them, and their efforts, and to encourage the government to take bold steps that build the kind of free and prosperous nation they desire to see." The U.S. says it will work with Myanmar to ensure the elections on April 1 are free and fair and to improve the treatment of ethnic minority groups. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.