News / USA

Obama Meets With Aung San Suu Kyi

President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 19, 2012.President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 19, 2012.
x
President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 19, 2012.
President Barack Obama meets with Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 19, 2012.
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have met for the first time. The two Nobel Peace laureates spoke at the White House Wednesday as the United States lifted sanctions on Burma’s president and parliament speaker.

The closed-door meeting was part of the Burmese democracy leader’s first U.S. trip since the military government released her from 15 years of house arrest in 2010.

A White House statement issued after the meeting said President Obama expressed his admiration for Aung San Suu Kyi’s courage, determination and personal sacrifice in fighting for democracy and human rights.  

Obama also welcomed the progress the democracy leader and Burma’s president have made by working together for reforms.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Wednesday lifted sanctions on Burma’s President Thein Sein and parliament speaker Thura Shwe Mann.  Without comment, the Treasury Department removed both from its list of individuals and companies accused of links to terrorism, narcotics or other illegal activities.

Aung San Suu Kyi has recently called for U.S. sanctions on Burma to be lifted.  In a VOA interview on Tuesday, she said the sanctions had helped to pressure the military to make reforms, but that it was now time for the Burmese people to stand on their own.
 
Burma has made political and economic reforms in the past two years, and the U.S. recently normalized relations with Burma.  In July, U.S. officials allowed American companies to start investing there.

Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney praised Aung San Suu Kyi for her struggle for democracy and reform “…a struggle that is resulting now in her visit and in the remarkable reforms that have been undertaken by President Thein Sein in Burma.”

Oval Office meetings with the president are usually reserved for visiting presidents or prime ministers.  This meeting took place quietly, with no video cameras or reporters present.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s U.S. tour will overlap the visit of President Thein Sein to New York next week for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.  Some experts believe the Obama administration is trying to prevent the democracy activist’s visit from overshadowing that of the Burmese president.

Carney Wednesday praised Burma’s leader for his role in instituting reforms. “We continue to work with President Thein Sein and the government there, as well as others, to help the cause of reform and to help the cause of the democratic process there,” Carney said.

Burma has released more than 100 political prisoners so far this month, and has freed thousands more over the past few years.  Activists and rights groups, however, say hundreds more are still being held.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s initial White House visit followed a ceremony on Capitol Hill, in which she was presented the Congressional Gold Medal, the U.S. Congress’ highest honor.

In her 17 days in the United States, Aung San Suu Kyi will also visit the states of California, New York, Kentucky and Indiana, among others.  The city of Fort Wayne, Indiana has one of the country’s largest Burmese-American communities.

You May Like

US States Where Women Work for Free

Women earn less than men in all 50 states More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death Against IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs