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US confirms 1st ambassador to Myanmar in 22 years

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June 29, 2012 04:37 PM EST | AP


WASHINGTON — The Senate has confirmed the appointment of the first U.S. ambassador to Myanmar in 22 years. Derek Mitchell has served as President Barack Obama's special envoy to military-dominated Myanmar since August to encourage democratic reforms.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell welcomed Mitchell's confirmation which was done by voice vote Friday, saying his experience "will serve us well in the region."

Mitchell served previously as a senior defense official for Asia-Pacific affairs.

The U.S. is currently represented in Myanmar by a lower-level diplomat. Upgrading relations is part of U.S. efforts to bring Myanmar out of isolation after five decades of authoritarian rule.

Myanmar will also send a full ambassador to Washington.