You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Myanmar

  • Myanmar students vow protests over education law
    YANGON, Myanmar – Students in Myanmar have threatened to protest nationwide if the government does not amend an education law that prohibits them from engaging in political activities and curbs academic freedom.
  • As fears rise in Myanmar, Rohingya exodus grows
    SITTWE, Myanmar (AP) — The captain of the small fishing vessel has spent most of his life helping fellow Rohingya Muslims escape persecution and hatred in Myanmar, but now even he is worried about the panicked pace the exodus has taken in
  • Group to Obama: Say 'Rohingya' on Myanmar visit
     YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s minority Rohingya Muslims are among the most persecuted people on earth, and advocates of their cause were hoping President Barack Obama would not only press the issue during his visit this
Advertisement

Suu Kyi to meet with Obama

Aung San Suu Kyi

WASHINGTON – Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi meets Wednesday afternoon with President Barack Obama and will be presented with Congress’ highest award, signs of Washington’s deep admiration for one of the world’s most famous political dissidents.

A senior administration official said Obama will meet privately with Suu Kyi at the White House before the Congressional ceremony at 3 p.m.

The Nobel laureate is on a 17-day trip to the U.S. She spent 15 years under house arrest for opposing military rule in the country also known as Burma.

The official, who requested anonymity in order to discuss the meeting before it was announced publicly, said there would be no news coverage because Suu Kyi is not a head of state. That also likely reflects concerns that her Washington visit could overshadow the country’s reformist president, Thein Sein, who attends the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week.

Thein Sein is a member of Myanmar’s former ruling junta who has led the political opening over the past two years that was heralded by Suu Kyi’s release in late 2010. Suu Kyi has since been elected to parliament and cooperates with Thein Sein.

As a result, the U.S. normalized diplomatic relations with Myanmar and in July allowed U.S. companies to start investing there again. The administration is now considering easing the main plank of its remaining sanctions, a ban on imports.

Suu Kyi voiced support for that step after she met Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday, saying Myanmar should not depend on the U.S. to keep up its momentum for democracy. Some of her supporters, however, oppose it, saying reforms have not taken root and Washington will lose leverage with Myanmar, which still faces serious human rights issues. Clinton also expressed concern Tuesday that Myanmar retains some military contacts with North Korea.

The ceremonial highlight of Suu Kyi’s visit will be Wednesday’s presentation in the Capitol Rotunda of the Congressional Gold Medal that she was awarded in absentia in 2008 when she was under house arrest. She will also meet with Senate and House leaders. Clinton will attend the medal ceremony.

Suu Kyi’s cause is one that Democrats and Republicans in an increasingly divided Washington have united in championing over the years, and several lawmakers who have advocated sanctions have visited Myanmar over the past year to consult with her on the shift in U.S. policy.

Despite bitter political divisions, both parties in Congress have broadly supported the administration’s steps to reward Myanmar for its shift from military rule. Congress in August renewed the import ban, but Obama could seek to waive its provisions.

Advertisement