U.S. President Obama says the United States is ''prepared to lift sanctions'' on Burma, during a meeting with Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama says, "The United States is now prepared to lift sanctions that we have imposed on Burma for quite some time," while meeting with Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House on Wednesday (September 14). Suu Kyi is on her first visit to the United States since her party won a sweeping victory in last year's election, capping a decades-long journey from political prisoner to national leader. Obama is looking to normalize relations with a country Washington shunned when it was ruled by a military junta. Suu Kyi also was expected to meet other U.S. officials including Secretary of State John Kerry and senior members of Congress. As Suu Kyi arrived at the White House, Obama issued a statement saying he would reinstate Myanmar to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which provides duty-free treatment for goods from poor and developing countries. Myanmar was removed from GSP benefits in 1989 following pro-democracy uprisings a year earlier that were brutally suppressed by the ruling military junta. The United States eased some sanctions against Myanmar earlier this year to support political reform but maintained most of its economic restrictions with an eye toward penalizing those it views as hampering the democratically elected government. With Suu Kyi in Washington, officials in Myanmar said the government there was making a push to overhaul rules on new foreign investment this week. New investment approvals have fallen since Suu Kyi took power in April and some businesses and investors have criticized her for failing to prioritize the economy. Separately, a group of 46 non-governmental organizations circulated a letter they wrote to Obama on Monday expressing concern about reports of plans to ease sanctions on Myanmar while human rights abuses by the military and against Rohingya Muslims persisted.