Thu 14 Aug 2014
Filed under: International,Naypyitaw,News
Thura Shwe Mann, speaker of Parliament’s Lower House, will visit the United States of America, following an invitation made over the weekend by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Kerry made the invitation during a meeting with Thura Shwe Mann while on a two-day long visit to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum in the capital.
Hla Myit Oo, chair of Lower House’s International Relations Committee, said Thura Shwe Mann might visit Washington in November.
Kerry also invited chairpersons of parliamentary committees to visit Washington for direct talks with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives.
The invitation follows a July 31 letter to Kerry from 72 members of the US House of Representatives urging the administration of President Barack Obama to take a tougher stance on the government of President Thein Sein, saying it was backsliding on reforms.
“Just as the beginning of the reform process required a calibrated reassessment of US policy three years ago, recent disturbing developments call for a significant recalibration now,” the letter said.
It mentioned “horrific images of emaciated children” that continue to emerge from camps for internally displaced persons in Rakhine State, as well as “stalled political reforms” linked to attempts to amend the military drafted Constitution ahead of the next elections.
Thura Shwe Mann has visited the US once since becoming the speaker and may visit other Asean countries, according to Hla Myint Oo.
“Thura Shwe Mann has yet to visit the Philippines, Vietnam and Laos. He is scheduled to go to Laos during September as there is ASEAN parliamentary meeting,” he added.
President Thein Sein visited the US in May 2013, while Obama visited Myanmar in November 2012 and is expected to visit again in November this year.