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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid