Clinton Welcomes Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi

Posted September 18th, 2012 at 10:40 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has welcomed Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi to Washington at the start of the opposition leader's first U.S. visit since her 2010 release from house arrest.

In brief comments to reporters at the start of their meeting on Tuesday, Clinton said there was a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm over Aung San Suu Kyi's trip.

The opposition leader arrived in the U.S. on Monday for a 17-day visit. She is expected to comment on Burma's democratic transition and challenges faced by the country.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner is scheduled to make an appearance at the Voice of America later Tuesday.

Part of her trip coincides with next week's visit by Burmese President Thein Sein, who will address the United Nations General Assembly.

U.S. President Barack Obama is considering relaxing some of the tough sanctions imposed on Burma because of the former government's poor human rights record. Conditions in the country have improved since a nominally civilian government came to power last year.

The new government has released hundreds of political prisoners, including at least 60 who were among about 500 prisoners pardoned on Monday.

On Wednesday, lawmakers will present Aung San Suu Kyi with the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Other stops on her visit include the states of California, New York and Indiana. Fort Wayne, Indiana is home to one of the country's largest Burmese-American communities.

Aung San Suu Kyi spent nearly 20 years under house arrest. She is now a member of the Burmese parliament.