Suu Kyi Returns Home from USA

By Tha Lun Zaung Htet & Hpyo Wai Tha 5 October 2012

RANGOON—Arriving back home after her historic 17-day trip to the US, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told supporters that people in Burma should be ready to endure difficult times, and be prepared to work harder than before to achieve their goals.

“We have to understand that we need to work harder,” she said, greeting hundreds of supporters in front of her lakeside villa. “We all have things to do—we must do them in unity. We may encounter the hardest of times. But if you strive, your goals will be achieved.

“Let me say that now is the time to work hard, not sit down and take it easy,” she added.

Suu Kyi was welcomed by hundreds of well-wishers on her arrival at Rangoon’s international airport late on Thursday night.

During her trip, the Burmese opposition leader met US President Barrack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, various prominent lawmakers, celebrities, former presidents, and members of the Burmese community in the USA.

She received several awards, including the Congressional Gold Medal— the highest civilian award of the US Congress.

While she was in the States, Suu Kyi met with Burmese President Thein Sein at his New York hotel while he was in town to speak at the UN General Assembly.

The Burmese president publicly praised Suu Kyi for “the honors she has received in this country in recognition of her efforts for democracy.”

Zaw Htay, the director of the President’s Office, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that Suu Kyi’s trip was a success—in that, from an international perspective, Burma has changed; and that the sanctions imposed on the country were lifted during her visit.

“The President [Thein Sein] and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi shared common visions, especially for the good of our 60 million people,” he said.

Mya Aye from the 88 Generation Students group said that Suu Kyi’s trip represented the Burmese people, and that he agreed with Suu Kyi’s comments.

“It’s true we still have a long road ahead,” he said. “We all have to unite for the good of the country. Today the line between the opposition and the government is becoming blurred, so that all political forces need to work together for national reconciliation.”

Suu Kyi’s trip to the US was her third overseas visit after trips to Thailand and Europe this year. She was freed from house arrest in November 2010 and is now a member of parliament pressing for domestic reform, as well as the lifting of international sanctions. The US government said on Sept. 27 it will ease some of its trade sanctions on Burma.