Suu Kyi to visit US soon, says govt


YANGON — Myanmar’s de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has accepted an invite from Barack Obama to visit the United States, her government said Thursday, the first time the pair will meet since last year’s landmark elections.

“She accepted the invitation and will discuss a visit there at a mutually convenient time,” Aye Aye Soe, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, told AFP.

The invitation reinforces Suu Kyi’s primacy on the international stage as the real head of a government she is technically barred from leading.

Instead she has taken the role of Foreign Minister and created a new position for herself titled “State Counsellor”. She has also appointed a long term friend and ally, U Htin Kyaw, to be a proxy president.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

It is not clear when the visit will take place but it is expected to occur before Obama leaves office as American voters head to the polls in November.

“President Obama has six months of his term left and they would like to maintain good relations between our two countries,” Aye Aye Soe said.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, delivered the invitation on Wednesday during a visit to the capital Nay Pyi Taw.

Obama and Suu Kyi first met in 2012 shortly after the veteran dissident was released from house arrest where she had spent much of the last two decades under junta rule.

President Obama also met Suu Kyi during a visit to Myanmar in 2014 in which he criticised the ban on Suu Kyi taking the presidency.

Myanmar’s peaceful transition from military to civilian rule has been hailed in a world where such transitions seem rare.

But the military, who spent decades brutalising the population and enriching themselves, remain enormously influential.

Officers are still guaranteed a quarter of legislative seats, giving them a veto on constitutional change, while the military retains control of the crucial home, border and defence ministries.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar