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Published on Friday, 09 November 2012 15:31
Photo:AFP NLD Chairman Suu Kyi met with President Obama at the White House on Sep 19
US President Barack Obama will make his first visit to Myanmar during his four-day Asian tour, the White House said.
The trip from November 17-20 will include Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. He will arrive in Myanmar on November 19, AFP reported.
Obama is scheduled to meet President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He is also expected to address civil society to encourage Myanmar’s ongoing democratic transition, according to a statement from the White House.
“We welcome the news from the White House on the visit of President Obama. This historic visit is meant to assure the support of Washington to the democratisation process,” Zaw Htay, director of the President’s Office, said to Eleven Media Group.
"President Thein Sein can move forward with his reform programs with the support of Mr Obama and the United States of America without backtracking. The government hopes bilateral relations and cooperation will significantly increase after this historic visit,'' he added.
Nyan Win, NLD spokesman said, “The visit of US President Barack Obama will help change processes in Myanmar. The country has not fully enjoyed genuine change. Only senior government leaders are making the transition process. Such situations could be presented to him during the visit. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will also discuss with Obama what’s happening on the ground and issues concerning the investment sector.''
Obama’s Southeast Asian tour will end at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, after meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
His visit marks the first ever visit of a sitting US president to Myanmar, as part of the Washington’s efforts to motivate the resource-rich Southeast Asian country’s transition to greater political freedom.
In September, Thein Sein and Suu Kyi visited New York. The president addressed the UN General Assembly while Suu Kyi met with Obama.
According to the White House statement, Obama will meet with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to mark 180 years of diplomatic relations and reaffirm bilateral relations with Thailand.
It also said Obama will discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, human rights, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern.
Under Obama’s leadership, the US changed its policy towards Myanmar leading to warmer bilateral relations. The US, as well as European countries, gradually eased economic sanctions since Thein Sein took office in 2011.
Derek Mitchell, the first US ambassador to Myanmar in 22 years, arrived in Yangon in July 11. The US and Myanmar established diplomatic relations since 1947. The US downgraded its level of representation in Myanmar from ambassador to chargé d'affaires after 1990.