Aung San Suu Kyi to Receive Medal, Meet Obama

Posted September 19th, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will receive the United States Congress' highest award.

The Nobel laureate will be presented with the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol. She was awarded the medal in 2008 while under house arrest in her homeland.

Later, she meets privately with President Barack Obama. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the president is looking forward to the visit.

“It provides another opportunity to reaffirm our longstanding support for her struggle and the struggle of many others towards a democratic, just and transparent governance in Burma.”

Aung San Suu Kyi's long struggle against Burma's military leaders has received bipartisan support in Washington.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called her a “remarkably courageous woman.”

“If not for the quiet determination and simple confidence of this remarkable woman, democratic reforms might have seemed a lost cause under the Burmese junta. But in November 2010, we were all encouraged when Suu Kyi was finally released from house arrest.”

Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi said she fully supports easing the remaining U.S. economic sanctions against Burma, but she warned the path to her nation's democratic future will not be irreversible until the army voices full support for the reform process.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said she is most troubled by the provision in Burma's constitution – drafted in 2008 by the former military junta – that allows the army to take control of government when deemed necessary.

But she also credited President Thein Sein, a former general, for launching democratic reforms in Burma after taking office last year.

Aung San Suu Kyi arrived Monday for a 17-day visit that marks her first to America since her 2010 release from military detention. Part of her trip overlaps with next week's visit by President Thein Sein, who will address the U.N. General Assembly.

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.