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Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she is confident about the prospects for democratic reforms in Burma after talks with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton during a landmark visit.

In a meeting unthinkable little more than a year ago, Ms Clinton held in-depth talks with the Nobel laureate at the crumbling lakeside mansion in Rangoon where Ms Suu Kyi spent most of the past two decades as a prisoner in her own home.

"It is, I think, a historic moment for both our countries because we hope from this meeting we will be able to proceed towards renewing the ties of friendship and understanding that bound our countries together since independence," Ms Suu Kyi said.

"I am very confident that if we work together... there will be no turning back from the road to democracy."

More needed to be done by the new military-backed regime, "but we hope to get there as soon as possible", Ms Suu Kyi added.

Ms Clinton was on the final day of a historic three-day visit to Burma, in which she offered incremental concessions to the regime, including easing restrictions on foreign assistance.

Ms Suu Kyi and Ms Clinton met for the first time on Thursday for a private dinner at which the secretary of state hand-delivered a personal letter from president Barack Obama.

The message thanked Ms Suu Kyi for her "inspiration" to people around the world and said the US would stand by her "now and always".

The Nobel Peace laureate is widely admired in Washington and her support is politically indispensable there for any move to reconcile with Burma.

Ms Clinton, the first US secretary of state to officially visit Burma in more than 50 years, had on Thursday met president Thein Sein and foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin.

She told reporters after those meetings that the US was prepared to respond to the government's reforms with measured steps to lessen Burma's international isolation to help improve the lives of its citizens.

She praised the government for taking ''the first steps toward a long-awaited opening'' by easing some restrictions on the media and civil society, opening a dialogue with Mr Suu Kyi, rewriting the
election and labour laws and releasing 200 political prisoners.

But she did not indicate that economic sanctions would be lifted any time soon.

US officials said Ms Clinton told Mr Sein that Washington still had areas of concern, including Burma's nuclear ambitions and its military ties with North Korea.
 
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