A 'chapter of light' in Burma's reforms

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David Cameron says Burma is a 'chapter of light' in democracy
David Cameron says Burma is a 'chapter of light' in the move towards democracy Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

David Cameron has urged other world leaders to "get behind Burma" as he prepares to make history when he flies to the country tomorrow.

It is the last of five countries he is visiting on a tour of Asia. He's is currently in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

At a press conference with the Malaysian Prime Minister, David Cameron spoke of Burma as being a "potential chapter of light" in a world where "there are many dark and depressing chapters".

He will first visit the president of Burma, Thein Sein, who has pushed through many of the reforms which paved the way for elections earlier this month.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace prize winner who has been a high profile opponent of the military regime, contested those elections and her party won a number of seats.

She has spent a decade and a half in custody - mainly under house arrest - after a brutal crackdown by the military rulers.

After meeting the president in the capital, Naypyidaw, David Cameron will travel to Rangoon, the former colonial capital, where he will become the first Western leader to see Aung San Suu Kyi since the elections.

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi Credit: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tu

Asked by ITV News if he believe the whole regime was committed to reform, Mr Cameron said: "We should be sceptical. We should be questioning and not naive."

But on the president's attempts to encourage democracy Mr Cameron added:

"Aung San Suu Kyi herself, who spent so many years in such a lonely but powerful struggle, believes he is acting in good faith."

Malaysia believes its regional neighbour is on a "irreversible" path to democracy and wants Europe and the West to suspend sanctions against Burma.

David Cameron held open that possibility by saying that Britain "should not be backwards in our response" to the changes in Burma.