FW: Foreign Pool Report Myanmar (Burma) State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

From: Lalit K. Jha [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 1:28 PM
To: FN-WHO-Press
Cc: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO ; Gabriel, Brian A. EOP/WHO ; Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO ; Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO
Subject: Foreign Pool Report Myanmar (Burma) State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Foreign Pool Report Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

ASSK arrived at the WH at 11.19 a.m. This was immediately followed by her meeting with POTUS.

Your pooler entered the Oval Office at 12.27.

POTUS spoke first welcoming Daw ASSK to the White House. Her first visit to the WH in this capacity represents the remarkable progress that Burma is undergoing. Referring to the transition of Burma to elections and a legislation, which though still has significant restraints from the previous government, POTUS said the new government is giving voice to the hopes and dreams to new generation of Burmese people.

As a consequence, POTUS said, ASSK is in a position to begin shaking a remarkable social, political and economic transformation. Referring to the progress made in Burma in the last several months, POTUS said: “The United States is now prepared to lift sanctions that have been imposed on Burma for quite some time. It is the right thing to do in order to ensure that people of Burma see rewards from a new way of doing business …”

Referring to the earlier decision to suspension of preferential treatment for Burma as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, POTUS said if you combine those two efforts, the US, businesses and nonprofit institutions there is greater incentive to invest and participate in an increasingly democratic and prosperous Burma.

ASSK spoke next for more than six minutes.

Thanking POTUS for the invitation, ASSK said this is an opportunity to thank the people of United States who helped and supported people of Myanmar (Burma) in their democratic struggle. “We have reached at a point where people did not expect us to reach five years ago,” she said. But there is so much that now has to be done.

Reiterating her push for national reconciliation, ASSK said fighting has been going on for decades.  There are officially 135 ethnic groups and to keep them all in one country is not an easy matter. But we think, we can do that. What all of want is a truly democratic federal union. A union in which we can create true strength of our diversity.

Unity, she underscored, also needs prosperity. We want to be sure that our people are better off, she said.

ASSK referred to the steps taken by her government to look into communal strife in the country. “We want to make sure that everyone who is entitled to citizenship is accorded citizenship as quickly and as fairly as possible,” she said. “This is what we are trying to do in Rakhine (State),” she added.

The US Congress, she noted, has been more than friendly towards the effort of democratic reforms. Over the years the US Congress took many steps including sanctions to push democratic reforms in the country, she said.

“We think time has now come to remove all the sanctions that hurt us economically,” she said.

ASSK invited US businesses to invest in Myanmar (Burma). She hoped that in the next few weeks, the legislature would bring in new investment law. This along with lifting of sanctions Burma would be a very attractive destination for people from all over the world.

“We think, the country is in a position to take off,” ASSK said. The economic development is part of the democratic process, she said. There is still a lot to be done, she acknowledged.

The Burmese constitution, she said, is not entirely democratic, because it gives the military special power to the military. “I want our military to be an honorable institution and not respected by the people and capable of protecting and defending our rights. ,… but we do not think, politics is a place for the military,” ASSK said, adding that her government would continue to work to make the constitution truly democratic.

As ASSK concluded her remarks, Jeff Mason from Reuters asked POTUS what is his time frame for lifting sanctions.

POTUS said: “Soon.”

“Soon” he repeated as your pooler left the Oval Office at 12.41 p.m.

On Tuesday CSIS held a conference on US-Myanmar relations. Key note by Ben Rhodes. Link >https://www.csis.org/events/united-states-and-myanmar-next-steps<

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With warm rgds,
Lalit K Jha,
Chief US Correspondent,
Press Trust of India (PTI) >www.ptinews.com<
Cell: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Home Office Tele/Fax: xxx-xxx-xxxx

State Department Desk Tele/Fax: xxx-xxx-xxxx

On Web: >www.lalitkjha.com<;

Follow me on Twitter: >http://twitter.com/lalitkjha<

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