News / Asia

Clinton Ends Burma Trip With Pledge of Support

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Naypyidaw, Burma, Nov. 30, 2011.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Naypyidaw, Burma, Nov. 30, 2011.
Peter Cobus

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has completed a three-day visit to Burma after discussions with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a vow that the United States is prepared to support further democratic reform.

"We are prepared to go further if the reforms maintain momentum, but history teaches us to be cautious," said Clinton. "We know that there have been serious setbacks and grave disappointments over the last decades."

The two women held hands as they spoke to reporters Friday from the veranda of Aung San Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon, where the democracy leader was held under house arrest for most of the past two decades. Clinton said the U.S. will contribute about $1.2 million in aid to Burma for landmine victims, microfinance operations, and health care initiatives.

But she said tough sanctions on Burma will not be lifted until Burma makes concrete steps toward democracy.

"We will match action for action. And if there is enough progress, obviously we will be considering lifting sanction," she said.

Clinton praised Aung San Suu Kyi's "steadfast and clear" leadership, saying that the U.S. wants to see Burma take its rightful place in the world. She called the democracy leader an inspiration.

Aung San Suu Kyi said she was happy with the way in which the U.S. is engaging with Burma and thought it would make the process of democratization easier.

During a Thursday visit to Burma's capital, Naypyidaw, Clinton said any step Burma takes toward political reform will be carefully considered.

She urged the government to speed up reconciliation efforts by releasing more political prisoners and stopping violent campaigns against ethnic minorities. Clinton also urged Burma to end any "illicit" military ties to North Korea and respect international consensus against the spread of nuclear weapons.

She spoke to reporters after a historic meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein who has overseen tentative steps to reform since he took over in March. The former military officer hailed what he called a new chapter in U.S.-Burmese relations.

The new Burmese government has released about 200 political prisoners, eased some press restrictions and opened a dialogue with some of its critics, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Nobel peace prize laureate was freed from house arrest last year after spending much of the previous 20 years in detention. Her party won a national election in 1990 by a landslide, but was stopped from taking power. She confirmed Wednesday that she will run for parliament in upcoming elections.

The U.S. and other Western nations imposed sanctions on the former Burmese military government because of its harsh human rights abuses, including military operations against ethnic groups and the jailing of up to 2,000 political prisoners. Clinton repeated the call for the release of those political prisoners.

She is the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Burma in 50 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs