President Obama welcomed Myanmar’s opposition leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, to the Oval Office on Wednesday, amid signs that the administration was likely to further ease sanctions on her once-isolated Southeast Asian nation.
In the meeting, Mr. Obama paid tribute to Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s courage and personal sacrifice in fighting for democracy in Myanmar, the White House said. In a speech on Tuesday, she called for American sanctions to be eased, saying that they had served their purpose. A senior administration official said the United States was likely to ease at least some of them.
But the official cautioned that the administration would not make any announcements until it had consulted with Myanmar’s government, which under President Thein Sein, a former general, has been moving away from its authoritarian past. Although the administration is eager to enlist the support of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the official said, announcing any action regarding sanctions during her visit might alienate Mr. Thein Sein.
“That’s certainly a direction we’re moving in,” said this official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But we’re very sensitive to the fact that Thein Sein is pursuing a reform process that Aung San Suu Kyi is an important part of.”