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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs