The lawyer for Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she welcomes U.S. plans to engage diplomatically with the country's military rulers to promote democratic reform.

In an interview with VOA, the lawyer also said Aung San Suu Kyi believes U.S. officials also must speak to the opposition, saying engagement is productive with both sides.

Burma's government-in-exile also welcomed U.S. plans to engage the country's military leaders but urged the international community to engage Burma's opposition.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of the Obama administration's new approach with Burma's military rulers on Wednesday.

Clinton said the U.S. government would still use sanctions against Burma to try to influence its government.  But she added that sanctions alone have not produced the results the United States wants.

Clinton said engagement versus sanctions is a false choice, and that the Obama administration has decided to use both methods.

Zin Linn, a spokesman for Burma's government-in-exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, said there may be more results if countries like the United States, as well as the United Nations and the European Union, try to act as a facilitator between the military government and the opposition.

Rights activists say dialogue with Burma's military leaders will only be effective if the United States stays firm on its demands for democratic change.

Burma has been under military rule since 1962.   The opposition National League for Democracy won the last elections in 1990, but the military government refused to acknowledge the results.

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

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.