Myanmar democracy icon and parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi spoke Tuesday at an Asia Society event at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., the initial public stop on her landmark first visit to the United States in more than 40 years. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduced the Nobel Laureate, who was released from house arrest in 2010. (Read the complete text of Secretary Clinton's remarks here.)
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi warned on Tuesday that reforms in her country had cleared only the "first hurdle" and said she supported an easing of U.S. sanctions.
The Nobel laureate said American economic sanctions were a useful tool for putting pressure on Myanmar's military government, but now the people need to consolidate democracy on their own.
"I do support the easing of sanctions," she said in remarks after a speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington on the opening day of a two-week tour of the United States.
Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for championing democracy in opposition to a military junta that held her under house arrest for years, began her 17-day tour with talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a standing room only speech at the Washington think tank.
"We have crossed the first hurdle but there are many more hurdles to cross," she said in the speech, her first public appearance in the United States.
Clinton told the same event Suu Kyi's followers and the quasi-civilian government needed to work together to heal past wounds and "guard against backsliding because there are forces that would take the country in the wrong direction if given the chance."
After opening remarks from Asia Society Co-Chair Henrietta Fore and United States Institute of Peace President Jim Marshall, Clinton and then Suu Kyi addressed the crowd individually. Suu Kyi was then awarded the Asia Society Global Vision Award by Asia Society Trustee Tom Freston. A question-and-answer session followed, moderated by Colette Rausch, Director of USIP's Rule of Law Center, and Suzanne DiMaggio, Asia Society's Vice President of Global Policy Programs.