(Mizzima) – Britain will open a “British interests office” in Naypyitaw to provide enhanced access to government officials, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Thursday.
“A British interests office in the administrative capital would strengthen the work of our embassy in Rangoon [Yangon] and demonstrate our intention to step up engagement with the Burmese government and people,” he announced in Parliament.
The office is essential for UK-Burmese relations and for encouraging democratic reform in the country, he said.
Britain, like most European and western nations, maintains an embassy in Rangoon. Naypyitaw, the newly built capital, was officially opened in November 2005. It is located 320 kilometres north of Rangoon, the previous capital.
Prime Minister David Cameron, the first Western leader in decades to visit Burma, called for a one-year suspension of sanctions earlier this month.
Hague also said that Britain would reopen its embassy in Laos after 27 years.
“Reopening the embassy will strengthen our bilateral relations with the Laotian government as the country's role and influence in the region continues to grow,” Hague said.
“Trade between our countries has more than doubled in the last year. An embassy will play a vital role in helping more British businesses access this emerging market.”
Laos will chair the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) in 2016, which will meet in Vientiane, the capital.