Suu Kyi to visit U.S. for award

Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she will come to the United States in September to accept an award from the Atlantic Council think tank in New York.

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday she will accept an award in the United States in September, making her first U.S. trip in at least two decades.

Suu Kyi was greeted enthusiastically by world leaders and human rights activists during her recent trips to Thailand and Europe. A trip to the United States likely will garner the same level of attention as she re-emerges on the world stage after not leaving her home country for more than 20 years.

The Atlantic Council think tank said Suu Kyi will be presented its Global Citizen Award recognizing “visionary global leaders” on Sept. 21 in New York.

Suu Kyi confirmed her trip but gave no other details on her itinerary. The U.S. State Department said Suu Kyi would be invited for meetings with the U.S. government during her visit.

“We look forward to an appropriate date welcoming Aung San Suu Kyi here to the State Department and her having bilateral meetings here in the U.S.,” department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

Suu Kyi is sure to be feted in the United States for her long struggle against military rule in her homeland, and for championing democracy.

She is revered by Congress and has been a guiding force in U.S. policy toward Myanmar over the past two decades, and she has been supportive of the Obama administration’s engagement of the reformist Myanmar President Thein Sein.

The U.S. last week suspended investment sanctions that had been in force against Myanmar for 15 years. Suu Kyi cautiously supported that move, but it did expose a rare difference between her views and those of the U.S. government, which decided to allow U.S. companies to invest with Myanmar’s state oil and gas enterprise.

Last month Suu Kyi opposed foreign companies working with that enterprise because of its lack of openness.

Suu Kyi spoke by phone Monday to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, a prominent voice in Congress on Myanmar issues. McConnnell’s office said they discussed U.S. sanctions legislation.