January 12th, 2012
01:11 AM ET

U.S. officials to meet with Myanmar opposition leader

U.S. diplomats will meet with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ton Thursday in another sign of thawing relations between Washington and the Southeast Asian nation.

The American delegation will be headed by Derek Mitchell, the U.S. special envoy to Myanmar.

The delegation, which also includes U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Human Trafficking Luis CdeBaca, arrived in the country Monday and have meet with top government officials.

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. Last week, she met with William Hague, the first British foreign secretary to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years.

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.

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