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Myanmar invited to observe military drills

Oct. 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The United States invited Myanmar to observe a major military exercise in Thailand next year in a move seen as a sign of cooperation between the countries.

All American cooperation with Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, stopped in the 1990s because of its human rights record, but sanctions have been gradually lifted in response to Myanmar's series of reforms, the BBC noted Friday.

Spokesmen from the Thai and Myanmar governments confirmed the invitation to observe the annual "Cobra Gold" exercise, which takes place in Thailand's Chon Buri province, east of Bangkok, and brings together Thai and American troops and observers from across Asia.

Thai Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Thanathip Sawangsang confirmed Myanmar "is on the list of observers but it is not finalized yet," an indication the ministry is awaiting an official response.

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