Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi Welcomes Lifting of US Sanctions

Posted September 21st, 2012 at 1:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she is “happy” that the United States has lifted sanctions against her country.

The democracy activist spoke Friday at a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York, where she appeared alongside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Aung San Suu Kyi's return to New York, where she worked more than 40 years ago at the U.N., is part of a 17-day tour of the United States — her first U.S. visit since being released from house arrest in 2010.

Answering a question from a VOA correspondent , Aung San Suu Kyi said she is “very, very appreciative” of what the U.S. Congress has done for many years to support her democracy movement, but that now, the Burmese people have to try to work on their own. She added it is time for the people to take responsibility for the democratization of the country.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was lifting sanctions on Burmese President Thein Sein and parliament speaker Thura Shwe Mann.

Mr. Ban said he has the great expectation and hope that together with President Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi will lead Burma's path toward reconciliation and democracy. The 67-year-old Nobel peace laureate was elected to the Burmese parliament in April.

She has been busy since arriving in the U.S., meeting with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as receiving the Congressional Gold Medal at a moving ceremony in the U.S. Capitol.

She declined Friday to give details of her discussion with President Obama but said she considered it a “good meeting.”

Burmese president Thein Sein will be in New York next week to deliver an address to the U.N. General Assembly. The former military leader has overseen a series of economic and political reforms since his government took power last year.

The latest was this week's release of about 100 political prisoners as part of a general amnesty. But while the move was welcomed by world leaders, it was also met with skepticism by those who want to see all of Burma's remaining prisoners of conscience released.

Even still, there have been signs of positive change, both small and large. On Friday, Burma's official New Light of Myanmar newspaper provided rare coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi, in a further sign that its strictly controlled press is opening up.

The paper reported that Aung San Suu Kyi received the award from the U.S. Congress. The article, which appeared on the last page of the paper, also made mention of her call for further easing of U.S. economic sanctions on Burma.