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Myanmar showcases reforms at diplomatic debut

Published on May 10, 2014 11:46 AM

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar (AFP) - Myanmar will parade its once isolated capital to international leaders this weekend, hosting a landmark summit of South-east Asia's regional bloc as reforms see the country strut onto the world stage.

Teams of local workers plucked weeds from manicured lawns while police practised security checks on convoys of proxy diplomatic cars in Naypyidaw late on Friday, in last-minute preparations for the arrival of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) ahead of Sunday's meeting.

"We are now fine-tuning, everything is ready," Myanmar government spokesman Ye Htut told AFP.

The summit is the first top-level function held as part of Myanmar's year-long Asean chairmanship - a debut for the country, despite its 17-year membership of the bloc, because rights concerns during the former junta era kept it on the sidelines.

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