BEIJING - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday hailed opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi's entrance into parliament as an "important step" for Myanmar and encouraged further reform.
Clinton, on a visit to Beijing, praised President Thein Sein for allowing the by-elections that gave Suu Kyi a seat in parliament but made clear that the United States was also looking ahead to the conduct of polls slated for 2015.
"This is an important moment for Burma's future," Clinton said in a statement, using Myanmar's former name.
"A genuine transition toward multi-party democracy leading to general elections in 2015 will help build a more prosperous society," she said.
"I encourage all political parties, civil society representatives and ethnic minority leaders to work together to address challenges and seize new opportunities for a more democratic, free, peaceful and prosperous future," she said.
Suu Kyi, who spent nearly two decades under house arrest, was sworn in as a member of parliament on Wednesday in one of the most visible signs yet of change in the long-authoritarian nation.
Clinton paid a landmark visit to Myanmar in December as part of US efforts to encourage reform. But the United States has kept sanctions as leverage to press Myanmar to end ethnic violence and allow free elections in 2015, as the April 1 by-elections only accounted for a small number of seats.