U.S. sees ‘flickers of progress’ in Burma; Clinton to visit
An opportunity to help millions, Obama says
RANGOON • Hillary Clinton will next month become the most senior western official to visit Burma in decades as Washington intensifies its effort to encourage what it called “flickers of progress” from the military regime.
President Barack Obama telephoned Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, from Air Force One to get her blessing for a visit by the U.S. secretary of state, the first in more than 50 years.
In a conversation that was unthinkable just six months ago, U.S. officials said that “the president was very struck by both her substantive observations and her warmth. They reviewed the progress that has been made in Burma, including her release, her dialogue with the government, the release of some political prisoners, and legislation that could open the political system further.”
En route to a summit in Indonesia, where he will encounter Thein Sein, Burma’s military-backed president, Obama said: “For decades Americans have been deeply concerned about the denial of basic human rights for the Burmese people.”
He said that the current environment in Burma was a rare opening that could help millions of people “and that possibility is too important to ignore.”
Senate finance committee chairman Max Baucus is surrounded by reporters after leaving a meeting with fellow members of the joint select committee on deficit reduction, or ‘supercommittee,’ in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Members of...