U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to call for the release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when he meets with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Sunday.
A White House spokesman said Tuesday that Mr. Obama will reiterate U.S. calls for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, and will probably mention Aung San Suu Kyi by name.
This will be the first time a U.S. president has attended an ASEAN summit. Burma is a member of the organization and its prime minister, Thein Sein, also is expected to be at the summit in Singapore. That could lead to the highest-level direct contact between the United States and Burma in decades.
Last week, a senior U.S. official was in Burma for talks with the country's ruling generals, putting in motion the Obama administration's new policy of "pragmatic engagement" with the isolated southeast Asian nation. The talks are part of an effort to press Burma's military rulers to hold talks with opposition parties and ethnic minorities.
But the administration also has vowed to maintain sanctions on Burma until it makes progress toward democracy.
Burmese authorities extended Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest by another 18 months in August.