Accessibility links

US Lawmaker in Military-Ruled Burma for Talks


U.S. Senator Jim Webb is in Burma, where he is expected to hold talks with the country's ruling military leader, the first such meeting between a high-ranking U.S. official and General Than Shwe.

The visit comes just days after the United States and other Western nations condemned the military government's order to extend the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Senator Webb - a Democrat from the southern state of Virginia - arrived Friday in Burma's administrative capital of Naypyitaw after a flight from Laos, the first leg of his five-nation tour of Asia. Burmese state television reported Webb met with Prime Minister Thein Sein, but did not give details.

The U.S. lawmaker is scheduled to meet with Than Shwe Saturday. Both the White House and State Department said Friday Webb was not carrying any specific message from the Obama administration.

A few members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy have been asked to travel to Naypyitaw while Webb is there, but it is not clear if they are to meet with the senator. It is also not known if Webb will be able to see Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.

Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted Tuesday of violating her house arrest, after an American man, John Yettaw, swam uninvited to her lakeside home. The pro-democracy leader was ordered to remain under house arrest for another 18 months. Yettaw was also convicted and sentenced to seven years of hard labor and imprisonment.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 14 of the past 20 years in some form of detention.

Senator Webb is traveling through the region as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

The Vietnam War veteran and former secretary of the Navy will also visit Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia during his Asian tour.


Some information for this report was provided by AP.

XS
SM
MD
LG