Myanmar's president invited to Britain: PM's office

Prime Minister David Cameron has invited reformist Myanmar President Thein Sein -- pictured in April -- to visit Britain, a Downing Street spokeswoman said Thursday, in a further thawing of relations

Prime Minister David Cameron has invited Myanmar President Thein Sein to visit Britain to discuss the need for further reform after decades of military rule, Downing Street said Thursday.

News of the invitation emerged just hours before Myanmar opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi was due to meet Cameron as part of her own trip to Britain, her first in 24 years.

"He is due to visit the UK in the coming months to continue the discussions that began when the Prime Minister was in Burma in April," Cameron's spokeswoman told reporters, using the Southeast Asian nation's unofficial name.

"Those discussions will centre on the need for further reform."

Another spokeswoman told AFP that Thein Sein "has welcomed the invitation" but it was "not for us to confirm" if or when he would be coming.

Asked whether Suu Kyi had been asked if Thein Sein should be invited to Britain -- Myanmar's former colonial power -- the spokeswoman said: "She was made aware of the invitation."

Cameron in April became the first Western leader in decades to visit Myanmar, which languished for years under a repressive junta until military rule ended last year.

Cameron held talks with both Suu Kyi and Thein Sein during that visit.

The European Union has since dropped some sanctions on Myanmar.

Thein Sein was the former prime minister in the junta. He has given up his army role and took office as president, marking the end of nearly half a century of outright military rule.