Suu Kyi to pay first US visit since house arrest

WASHINGTON - Myanmar's Nobel Prize-winning opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will travel to the United States (US) in September on her first visit since spending years under house arrest, a think-tank said on Tuesday.

Ms Suu Kyi, who was elected to parliament this year in a dramatic sign of Myanmar's reforms, has indicated that she will attend a dinner in New York on Sept 21 to accept an award from the Atlantic Council, said Ms Taleen Ananian, a spokeswoman for the think-tank.

It would be the 67-year-old Suu Kyi's first visit to the United States since the 1980s. She spent most of the past two decades under house arrest after a military junta refused to accept her party's victory in 1990 elections.

Ms Suu Kyi did not travel abroad again until May this year when she visited Thailand. In June, she made an extensive tour of Europe, where she was feted in major capitals and admitted that she felt exhausted.

State Department officials said that they had no announcement to make on Ms Suu Kyi's travels, but it would be highly unlikely that she would visit the United States without meeting her supporters in President Barack Obama's administration and Congress.

The Atlantic Council dinner takes place in New York at the same time as the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, which each year brings leaders from across to the world to the global body's headquarters in Manhattan.

The Atlantic Council said it would present its 'Global Citizen' awards to Ms Suu Kyi along with Japan's Sadako Ogata, a former UN high commissioner for refugees.

'By honoring two such brave women - one of the most well-known political prisoners of our times and a courageous campaigner for human rights from Bosnia to Rwanda - we help define the notion of global citizenship even as we honour it,' Atlantic Council president and chief executive officer Frederick Kempe said in a statement.

The think-tank will also present the award to Henry Kissinger, the 89-year-old former secretary of state and apostle of realpolitik, along with music legend and humanitarian Quincy Jones.

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