US envoy holds talks with new Myanmar government

US Prez`s administration launched a drive to engage with Myanmar`s junta.

Yangon: A US envoy held talks with Myanmar`s
foreign minister on Wednesday in the highest-level meeting between
the two nations since the handover of power to a new
Army-backed government, an official said.

Joseph Yun, the deputy US assistant secretary for East
Asia and Pacific affairs, was also expected to meet with
democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi during his four-day visit
to the military-dominated country.

US President Barack Obama`s administration in 2009
launched a drive to engage with Myanmar`s junta, which in
March this year made way for a nominally civilian government
after the first election in 20 years.

Washington has voiced disappointment with the results of
the dialogue and refused to ease sanctions after the November
poll, which was marred by complaints of intimidation and

A US State Department spokesman said in Washington
yesterday that there were "fairly serious challenges to
address" in relations with Myanmar.

"We`re going to continue to pursue a dual-track policy
that involves pressure but also principled engagement," he

A Myanmar official said Yun held talks with Foreign
Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in the capital Naypyidaw on
Wednesday but he was not scheduled to meet President Thein
Sein, a former general who shed his uniform to head the
army-backed party which won the November election.

Yun was expected to meet with Nobel Peace Prize winner
Suu Kyi on Thursday at her Yangon home. The 65-year-old was
released in November shortly after the poll, having spent most
of the past two decades in detention.

Yun`s trip came just days after a senior UN official
visited the country and said that recent signals from the new
government were "very encouraging", although the words needed
to be matched by action.