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US State Department Confirms Meeting with Burmese Officials

The U.S. State Department has confirmed that a senior U.S. official met with Burma's foreign minister and other officials during a trip to Burma this week.

A statement issued by the department late Wednesday said the director of the Office for Mainland Southeast Asia, Stephen Blake, met with Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win on Tuesday. Blake also met with members of the opposition National League for Democracy and representatives of ethnic minority groups in Burma.

The statement said the U.S. official's visit does not represent a change of U.S. policy toward Burma. It said the Obama administration is reviewing its policies and remains committed to encouraging moves toward democratic reform in burma.

Earlier in the day, a State Department spokesman denied that the meetings in Burma took place. The statement issued later clarified that the denial was referring to the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, not to Stephen Blake.

Stephen Blake was visiting Burma as part of a five-nation tour of the region.

A report in Burma's state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Blake and Burma's foreign minister on Tuesday held cordial discussions on issues of mutual interest and the promotion of ties.

Opposition leaders from Burma's National League for Democracy told VOA's Burmese Service that their talks with Blake focused on Burma's upcoming elections and its controversial new constitution, which was approved last year.

Last month, newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration is reviewing its policies toward Burma to find better ways to influence the government and help its people.