The United States and Myanmar, also known as Burma, are set to begin historic talks as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to the country next month.
President Obama announced her planned visit in Bali Friday, where he is attending a summit of East Asian nations.
Obama said after years of darkness, there have been "flickers of progress" in Myanmar in the last several weeks, citing the release of political prisoners and easing of media restrictions.
"If Burma fails to move down the path of reform, it will continue to face sanctions and isolation, but if it seizes this moment, then reconciliation can prevail, and millions of people may get the chance to live with a greater measure of freedom, prosperity and dignity," Obama said.
He added that "that possibility is too important to ignore."
Clinton will be the first secretary of state to visit Myanmar since the country came under military rule more than 50 years ago following the 1962 military coup.