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US push on Myanmar in new phase

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WASHINGTON - After a landmark visit by Myanmar's leader, the United States is looking to a new phase of greater cooperation to encourage reform with the former pariah state as it runs out of major symbolic steps. 

President Thein Sein, a former general who startled observers by ushering in a wave of change when he took office in 2011, met with President Barack Obama on a four-day trip that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

In a sign of growing normalisation, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who long spearheaded economic sanctions on Myanmar, said he would let them lapse because a renewal would be a "slap in the face" to reformists.

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