David Cameron is to become the first Western leader to visit Aung San Suu Kyi since the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was elected to parliament.
The landmark trip to Burma on Friday is another sign that the country is being welcomed back into the international fold after taking tentative steps to restoring democracy.
The British prime minister, currently on a tour of South East Asia, is expected to travel to the country’s new capital, Naypyidaw, for talks with President Thein Sein, before meeting Ms Suu Kyi in Rangoon.
After years of repressive military rule, a change to a nominally civilian government last year resulted in the release of hundreds of political prisoners, including Ms Suu Kyi, and a relaxation on media restrictions.
By-elections held on April 1 – in which the opposition National League for Democracy won 43 out of the 44 seats it contested – were largely praised by overseas governments.
Foreign Secretary William Hague described the results as “historic” for the troubled nation.
Mr Cameron’s visit will follow that of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December. Announcing that trip, American President Barack Obama praised the country’s civilian government for encouraging “flickers of progress” after “years of darkness”.
Last week, the US announced that it was to ease sanctions on Burma in response to its move towards democracy.
The European Union is currently considering a similar relaxation of its restrictions on the nation. Foreign ministers will meet in Luxembourg later this month to discuss the further lifting of sanctions.