Obama Confirms Aung San Suu Kyi’s Support of US Engagement Towards Burmese Reform

On Thursday night on Air Force One, on his way from Darwin, Australia to Bali, Indonesia, President Obama phoned Burmese democracy activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to make sure she supports U.S. engagement to encourage the Burmese government’s steps towards reforms.

After she confirmed her support, President Obama Friday asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to travel to Burma in December to explore whether there’s a U.S. role to help facilitate further progress. Clinton will be the first American Secretary of State to visit Burma in more than 50 years.

At 11:45 pm ET the president will issue a statement on this.

A senior administration official says 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 welcome this deeper engagement by the US. This was their first conversation.”

The official underlines that there is “much more than 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. On her trip, Secretary Clinton will explore what the U.S. can do to support progress on political reform, human rights and national reconciliations.”

On Friday here in Bali the President will see Burmese President Thein Shein in today’s broader US-ASEAN meeting.