Suu Kyi Visit Highlights US-Burma Relations

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Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was in Washington Tuesday as part of her 17-day trip to America to accept Congress' highest award.

Wednesday, Suu Kyi will be presented with the Congressional Gold Medal that she was granted in absentia in 2008 -- two years before she was released from 15 years of house arrest.

The opposition icon met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tuesday, to discuss the recent changes in Myanmar and whether Washington should ease up on economic sanctions in response to new reforms.

"I do support the easing of sanctions because I think that our people must start to take responsibility for their own destiny," Suu Kyi said. "We should not depend on U.S. sanctions to keep up the momentum for democracy. We have got to work at it ourselves."

In July, the Obama administration lifted restrictions to allow U.S. companies to start investing again with Myanmar, also known as Burma. Now, Washington is also considering lifting a ban on imports from the country.

Clinton didn't directly address the sanctions issue, but insiders believe the administration will ease them possibly during next week's visit by Myanmar President Thein Sein at the U.N. General Assembly's annual gathering of world leaders in New York.

Clinton said the U.S. is committed to standing with Burma in its progress towards democratic reform.

However, she voiced concern over the continued detention of political prisoners and ethnic violence. She also condemned Myanmar's military ties with North Korea, which Washington wants severed.

Hours before Suu Kyi touched down in Washington Monday, Myanmar announced the release of more than 500 prisoner. Suu Kyi said that 90 of them were political detainees, but more than 200 are still being held.

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