13/12/2011 05:17 GMT | Updated 11/02/2012 10:12 GMT

Hague To Visit Burma In January

William Hague said it was time to "redouble efforts" to support political freedom in Burma as he announced he would visit the country early in January.

The Foreign Secretary said he hoped for a "decisive change" from the past amid signs of a thaw in the previously highly-repressive nation.

This month, Burma's new nominally civilian government approved a law allowing citizens to organise peaceful protests.

Anti-government demonstrations were banned and often brutally put down by the military junta which ruled until earlier this year.

Initial reforms have been sufficient to persuade pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi to take part in forthcoming elections.

Mr Hague announced his intention to travel to Burma during talks in Washington with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who recently spent three days there.

Welcoming the visit, she said there was "a real opportunity, through sustained diplomacy, to test the new government and to work toward the resolution of outstanding problems that prevent that country from achieving its rightful place in the community of nations for the 21st century.

"There's a very clear path forward if they wish to follow it."

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has also recently visited and reported "real signs of progress".