McConnell Welcomes Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
‘Whatever the task, it’s been an honor to do my own small part to advocate for change in Burma and support my friend. It’s been truly remarkable to see the changes that have taken hold in Burma in recent years — changes that once seemed unattainable.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor ahead of his meeting with Burmese State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi today:
“Today I have the distinct honor of welcoming my dear friend, Burmese State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as she visits the Capitol.
“Daw Suu is an incredible woman with an incredible life story.
“She’s endured much since pro-democracy protests first swept her country many years ago.
“What followed was a story made for Hollywood.
“In fact, it’s a story that Hollywood has made.
“But the story of Aung San Suu Kyi — of the long-time political prisoner who’d become the voice of her people, then de facto leader of her country — is about more than The Lady herself.
“It’s about the journey of a country and a people.
“I first learned of that journey decades ago as I read of Daw Suu’s heroic support for democratic reform, peaceful reconciliation, and human rights in her country. It may not have been the most popular political cause back then, but it was important. I decided then to make this cause my own whenever possible.
“Over the years, that’s meant sponsoring needed sanctions on the previous Burmese regime, it’s meant promoting political and constitutional reforms and meeting with Burmese leaders, and it’s meant keeping in close contact with Daw Suu.
“Whatever the task, it’s been an honor to do my own small part to advocate for change in Burma and support my friend. It’s been truly remarkable to see the changes that have taken hold in Burma in recent years — changes that once seemed unattainable.
“Last year, the world looked on as Daw Suu led her National League for Democracy to victory in Burma’s general election. For those keeping score, this was actually the second time she’d done this — but, unlike the election in 1990, these results were actually accepted by the regime. It was a moment many of us had eagerly awaited for decades, and in many ways, it reaffirmed the purpose behind Daw Suu’s life’s work, her great sacrifice, and her indestructible resolve.
“But it was also a reminder of the many challenges that still face the Burmese people.
“Like addressing much-needed constitutional reform and the military’s disproportionate power in parliament…
“Like ending decades-long conflict and promoting peaceful reconciliation among ethnic groups...
“Like encouraging economic development…
“As Daw Suu knows best of all, Burma is still a country with many challenges to hurdle as it strives to achieve a more representational government. But the Burmese people are not alone. They, and she, have many friends here in Washington as they work toward reform and reconciliation.
“It’s been four years since Daw Suu last visited us.
“It was a privilege then to help bestow her with the Congressional Gold Medal she’d earned many years before.
“It’s a privilege to welcome her back now in this new capacity.
“I look forward to meeting with her later today, and again wishing her all the best and reaffirming my own commitment to support her and her country on their path ahead.”
Related Issues: Burma