Aung San Suu Kyi asked influential US Sen. Mitch McConnell in a telephone call on Monday night to remove more US sanctions, saying it would serve to benefit the Burmese people.
Her political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), said on Tuesday that Suu Kyi emphasized three points: that full diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level has been re-established; democratic change is achieving momentum; and more investment is needed to improve the people's livelihood.
Sen. McConnell and Suu Kyi have a long relationship going back to her first detention under house arrest. When McConnell visited Burma in Janaury, he was visibly moved in meeting her for the first time. He said that Suu Kyi views would be critical to determine whether US sanctions were lifted.
The US lifted investment sanctions in July, but it left trade sanctions in place. US lawmakers are now preparing to submit a proposal to the U.S. Congress to extend the expiring “Burma Freedom and Democracy Act-2003” until 2015, which some lawmakers said would serve to keep pressure on Burma to continue reforms.
In January, when McConnell visited Suu Kyi in Rangoon, he said: “Well first, obviously, Aung San Suu Kyi's view about the appropriateness of lifting sanctions is something that will carry a lot of weight with members of the U.S. government, including myself. So how she feels about the direction of reform will have a lot of influence on us in the United States related to the decision to lift sanctions.”
Last week, Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann also requested Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs of the United States Robert Hormats to convince the U.S. Congress not to renew the sanctions.
Shwe Mann told Hormats that the suspension of US investment sanctions was one-sided and mainly benefitted U.S. firms, and he asked the U.S. side to review the case and take the interest of Burmese citizens and ethnic people into consideration.
Meanwhile, US government officials, responding to the news that Suu Kyi would visit the US on Sept. 21 to receive the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award, said Suu Kyi would be invited for meetings with the U.S. government during her visit, but it had no other details.
“We look forward to an appropriate date welcoming Aung San Suu Kyi here to the State Department and her having bilateral meetings here in the U.S.,” department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. last week suspended business investment sanctions that had been in force against Burma for 15 years.