The Senate has confirmed the appointment of the first U.S. ambassador to Burma in 22 years. Derek Mitchell has served as President Obama's special envoy to military-dominated Burma 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 Burma by a lower-level diplomat. Upgrading relations is part of U.S. efforts to bring Burma out of isolation after five decades of authoritarian rule.
Burma will also send a full ambassador to Washington.