By Jill Dougherty
Responding to Myanmar's parliamentary elections, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a "dramatic demonstration of popular will," the Obama administration is taking several significant steps to normalize relations with the country.
In an announcement at the State Department Wednesday, Clinton said the administration is consulting with Congress, with European and Asian allies and others on the U.S. response. She said the United States is prepared to seek agreement from the government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, for an ambassador to the country and to establish an in-country mission by the United States Agency for International Development.
In addition, the U.S. would seek to enable American-based private organizations to pursue activities including building democracy, improving health and education, and facilitating travel to the United States for select government officials and members of parliament.
The administration will also begin the process of easing some of the sanctions on financial services and investment to the country. However, sanctions and prohibitions, Clinton said, will stay in place on "individuals and institutions that remain on the wrong side of these reform efforts."
Clinton said the United States will continue to monitor developments in Myanmar, seeking improvements in human rights, the unconditional release of all political prisoners and the lifting of conditions on all those who have been released.
Sunday's parliamentary elections in Myanmar included victory for long-imprisoned Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party. The National League for Democracy won at laest 40 of the 44 seats that it contested, according to partial results announced by the National Electoral Commission on state television.