Aung San Suu Kyi's party welcomed a US decision to ease Myanmar sanctions Thursday, but the opposition leader demanded more "transparency" as foreign firms hungrily eye the country's energy sector.
Washington on Wednesday gave the green light for firms to invest in Myanmar including in oil and gas, its greatest loosening of sanctions so far to reward reforms in the former pariah state as it emerges from 50 years of military rule.
The US decision, which was swiftly followed by the announcement of top-level talks with Myanmar this week, comes despite concerns by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi about the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, or MOGE.
Suu Kyi -- whose voice is highly influential in Washington -- on Thursday said the US move was "nothing significant", but repeated calls for the international community to pressure MOGE, which was closely linked to the junta government that was replaced by a reformist regime last year.
"What I said was they should ask MOGE to have transparency, I don't know whether they asked or not," Suu Kyi told AFP, adding that the state-owned body should sign up to International Monetary Fund codes of conduct.
Her National League for Democracy said that the US decision was not at odds with the party's view that lifting tough Western sanctions should be considered if it would help regenerate the country's moribund economy.
"There is nothing to be disappointed about," party spokesman Nyan Win told AFP in response to the US decision, adding that the US "did what they should do".
International firms are clamouring for a foothold in resource-rich Myanmar as the West begins to lift tough economic and financial sanctions on the nation, left impoverished by decades of mismanagement and isolation under army rule.
The announcement will soothe fears by American businesses that they will lose out to European and Asian competitors that already enjoy access to the potentially lucrative economy.
It also signals Washington's desire to bolster Myanmar's reformist President Thein Sein, a former junta general who has surprised the West with a series of dramatic changes.
"President Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma continue to make significant progress along the path to democracy, and the government has continued to make important economic and political reforms," President Barack Obama said in a statement Wednesday.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Thein Sein on the sidelines of a business conference in Cambodia on Friday to discuss the easing of US sanctions, a senior State Department official told reporters in Phnom Penh.
The Myanmar leader on Thursday urged the West to lift all sanctions against his country as it grapples to invigorate its economy with a "second wave" of reforms.
"It is extremely important that sanctions be lifted -- both financial and other economic sanctions -- to make possible the sort of trade and investments that this country desperately needs at this time," he told the Financial Times.
Thein Sein also pledged "maximum transparency" in extractive industries, which have long been the target of rights campaigners concerned over abuses and cronyism in the sector.
Under the new rules, US companies will have the right to enter into business with MOGE but must notify the State Department within 60 days.
All US companies that invest more than $500,000 in Myanmar will be required to file reports to the State Department each year that show their consideration for human rights, workers' rights and the environment.
Human Rights Watch slammed the decision, saying that the United States appeared to have "caved to industry pressure and undercut Aung San Suu Kyi" because it did not insist on reforms in governance and human rights.
Aung Lynn, director general for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at Myanmar foreign ministry told AFP that the US decision was "a positive sign", but said the country was looking for "further action".
Obama on Wednesday voiced concern about the role of the military and said that the United States would continue to ban investment in companies owned by the defence ministry or armed groups.
Clinton will host the largest ever gathering of American businesses in Asia at the Siem Reap talks, which will come hot on the heels of a barrage of meetings in Cambodia with Southeast Asian and East Asian countries.