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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid