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Aung San Suu Kyi's Historic US Visit Further Boosts Improved Myanmar-US Relations
Source: news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-10/05/c_131889017.htm
Source Date: Friday, October 05, 2012
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Myanmar
Created: Oct 04, 2012

YANGON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar main opposition leader and parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi arrived back in Yangon on Thursday midnight from a 20-day historic visit to the United States, bringing the improved Myanmar-U.S. relations to a new high.

The further promotion of Myanmar-U.S. relations was gained partly through efforts of Suu Kyi in the capacity of a parliamentarian which was added to the achievement made by President U Thein Sein's trip to the U.S. winning further easing of U.S. import ban on Myanmar goods, analysts here said.

Meeting with thousands of people welcoming her return, Suu Kyi urged people to start to work hard for the country's future in line with the government's reform strategy.

It was Suu Kyi's first visit to the U.S. in 24 years after she was released from house arrest and became a parliamentarian after winning April by-election.

Concluding her U.S. trip in Los Angeles, Suu Kyi called for developing Myanmar in own form of democracy unlike the U.S..

Invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Suu Kyi was received by President Barack Obama at the White House who expressed welcome of Myanmar's democratic transition and the recent progress made by President U Thein Sein and Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) Party.

Suu Kyi, who is also chairperson of Committee for Rule of Law and Tranquility of the Lower House, picked up the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal award, the highest award for civilian presented by the U.S. Congress, as well as the Global Citizen Award presented by the Atlantic Council based in New York.

Praising Aung San Suu Kyi as main opposition leader and Noble Peace Laureate for the first time at the UN General Assembly in New York, U Thein Sein said, "as a Myanmar citizen, I would like to congratulate her for the honors she has received in this country (U.S.) in recognition of her efforts for democracy."

The congressional gold medal presentation ceremony for Suu Kyi was attended by Myanmar Minister at the President's Office U Aung Min and Myanmar Ambassador to the U.S. U Than Swe among those attendees from the U.S. side, which include Clinton, former first lady Laura Bush, U.S. House and Senate leaders.

Myanmar's state media quoted Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Laureate, for the first time as saying that nation building task of Myanmar was made possible by the reform measures instituted by President U Thein Sein, and that the legislative body is young but rapidly maturing and the entire Myanmar people who adore the democracy value will join hands in full swing to march towards the deserved position in the modern world.

During her speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Suu Kyi voiced her support of further easing of U.S. economic sanctions on Myanmar and said that Myanmar should not depend on the sanctions easing to keep the momentum of its movement for democracy.

After stay in New York where she called on then visiting President U Thein Sein and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Suu Kyi traveled to Kentucky and Indiana and visited Yale and Harvard universities and then she attended the freedom Forum in San Francisco where she was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco.

Besides, she met thousands of Myanmar residing in some U.S. cities including Washington, New York and San Francisco, calling on them to make contribution to their homeland despite their U.S. citizenship in light of reform and change in Myanmar.

In May-June, Suu Kyi paid a first visit to Thailand in 24 years and attended the World Economic Forum.

In June, she continued to pay a 17-day historic visit to five European countries -- Switzerland, Norway, Britain, Ireland and France.

She collected in Oslo her Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1991, picked up in Dublin the prize "Ambassador of Conscience" awarded by the Amnesty International, received an honorary doctorate from the Oxford University in Britain and an honorary citizen of Paris awarded by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoehe.

Meanwhile, the United States and the European Union had all started to ease or suspend sanctions on Myanmar as the nation embarked on democratic reform and sought engagement with the world.
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