News / Asia

Burmese Opposition Leader, Clinton Promote Closer Ties

Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (R) greets visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following their meeting at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, December 2, 2011.
Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (R) greets visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following their meeting at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, December 2, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Schearf Report on Clinton visit with Aung San Suu Kyi Dec 2, 2011

Daniel Schearf

Burma’s National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday hosted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for what the veteran activist called "a historic moment" for both Burma and the United States.



Following talks with Clinton at her lakeside home, Aung San Suu Kyi told journalists she hoped the visit, (the first by a U.S. secretary of state in over half a century) would renew ties of friendship and understanding.

She said U.S. diplomacy was helping to push for democracy in Burma.

“It is through engagement that we hope to promote the process of democratization," noted the democracy leader.  "Because of this engagement, I think our way ahead will be clearer and we will be able to trust that the process of democratization will go forward.”

Related video

Washington has shunned Burma since a 1962 military takeover and, in response to rights abuses, maintains economic sanctions.

But President Obama in 2009 began a two-track policy of continued sanctions coupled with engagement.

Some political analysts have characterized the policy as partly aimed at counterbalancing China’s close relations with the government.

The NLD leader said Burma needs help not only from the U.S. but also from other members of the international community.

Aung San Suu Kyi said she was happy to see China’s foreign ministry issue a statement welcoming U.S. engagement with Burma.

“This shows that we have the support of the whole world," she said. "I’m particularly pleased because we hoped to maintain good, friendly relations with China - our very close neighbor.”

Burmese Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's compound in Rangoon, December 2, 2011 (VOA Photo - D. Schearf)
Burmese Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's compound in Rangoon, December 2, 2011 (VOA Photo - D. Schearf)

The meeting was held at Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside home in Rangoon, a crumbling gray and white mansion where authorities kept her under house arrest for 15 years.

She was released a year ago, just days after the first election in two decades brought a military-backed party to power.

Despite his army roots, President Thein Sein surprised critics by allowing more freedoms, holding direct talks with Aung San Suu Kyi and releasing over 200 political prisoners.

Clinton said recent openings by the Burmese authorities gave grounds for encouragement, and that her visit was intended to explore the path forward, with democracy as the goal.  

“The United States wants to be a partner with Burma," Clinton said.  "We want to work with you as you further democratization, as you release all political prisoners, as you begin the difficult but necessary process of ending the ethnic conflicts that have gone on far too long, as you hold elections that are free, fair and credible.”

Aung San Suu Kyi also stressed more efforts were needed to stop fighting in ethnic minority areas and to establish the rule of law.

“First of all, we need all those who are still in prison to be released and we need to ensure that no more are arrested in future for their beliefs. This is why we put so much emphasis in rule of law," she said. "And I am confident that the United States and our other friends will help us to bring rule of law to this country.”

Clinton said there was much work to be done to develop the country and the U.S. was willing to assist.  She also offered a personal note of praise for Aung San Suu Kyi.

“You have been an inspiration.  But I know you feel that you are standing for all the people of your country, who deserve the same rights and freedoms of people everywhere," Clinton told the democracy leader.  "The people have been courageous and strong in the face of great difficulty over too many years.  We want to see this country take its rightful place in the world.”

On the two-day visit Clinton also met with government leaders including President Thein Sein and urged them to expand on the recent reforms.

Photo Gallery: Aung San Suu Kyi's political career

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More