General Thein Sein to follow opponent Aung San Suu Kyi to UK

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The Independent Online

Burma's President Thein Sein will travel to London in the coming months for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, a move pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi said would help avoid her country being "shackled by the past".

Speaking on the latest leg of a 17-day tour of Europe after 15 years of house arrest in Burma, Ms Suu Kyi batted away possible misgivings over the invitation to Britain of a man who was once part of the military junta that ruled Burma for 49 years.

"I think it's right to invite him. Because we don't want to be shackled by the past," the Nobel Peace Prize winner told reporters in London during a news conference with David Cameron. "We want to use the past to build up a happier future," she added.

Thein Sein, below, is head of a quasi-civilian government which in 2010 replaced the military junta. He has sought to end decades of international isolation by reforming Burma's once-oppressive political system and struggling economy.

Mr Cameron said: "There's a process of reform in Burma, and a process that the friends of democratic Burma like Britain want to see succeed."