Friday, November 18, 2011

Obama talks to Aung San Suu Kyi

Friday, 18 November 2011 12:35 Mizzima News

(Mizzima) – U.S. President Barack Obama talked to Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi by phone on Thursday to confirm that she supported U.S. engagement to encourage the Burmese government’s steps toward democratic reform.

ABC news correspondent Jake Tapper reported that after Suu Kyi reiterated her support, Obama on Friday asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to travel to Burma in December to explore how the U.S. can support further progress. Clinton will be the first American Secretary of State to visit Burma in more than 50 years.

Tapper said a senior administration official said that Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi “reviewed the progress that has been made in Burma, including her release, her dialogue with the government, the release of some political prisoners, and legislation that could open the political system further. It was important to the President that she welcomed this deeper engagement by the US. This was their first conversation.”

The official said there is “much more that must be done in Burma, and the U.S. has ongoing concerns about Burma’s human rights record, treatment of ethnic minorities, and closed society. They will need to go further with reforms to have a new relationship with the U.S.”

Clinton will explore what the U.S. can do to support progress on political reform, human rights and national reconciliation.

Recently, a procession of high-level U.S. diplomats have arrived in Naypyitaw, Burma’s capital, to meet with the country’s political leaders, who are dominated by former generals. One U.S. official met with Burma’s commander in chief, in a move seen as perhaps opening the way for some form of military cooperation.

Burma is being courted by neighboring countries, especially China, India and Thailand, who seek to gain access to its vast oil, gas and mineral resources.

On Thursday in Indonesia, Burma was awarded the chairmanship of Asean for 2014, a move that brings the country into the mainstream of Asian politics.

Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy, is widely expected to announce on Friday that it will re-register as a political party in order to take part in the coming by-election and contest for some of the 48 open seats in Parliament.

Leave a Reply