Myanmar President Thein Sein praises Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time


Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, addresses the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2012 in New York City.


John Moore

NEW YORK — Myanmar's President Thein Sein praised Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time in a historic speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

The unprecedented mention reflects the country's slow move toward democracy and opening to the West, marked by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's recent election to parliament after over a decade of house arrest, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

More from GlobalPost: Clinton: US to lift Myanmar imports ban

President Thein Sein told the UNGA, "As a Myanmar citizen, I would like to congratulate her for the honors she has received in this country in recognition of her efforts for democracy."

It is the first time the former general has publicly praised Suu Kyi or called her a "Nobel laureate," the Monitor noted. Citizens of Myanmar, also known as Burma, were able to watch the UNGA, which is in its 67th session, for the first time live on state television.

As GlobalPost reported, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told President Thein Sein on Wednesday that the US would be lifting its ban on imports to Myanmar as a result of the nation's reform efforts.

The Obama administration has been careful not to let Suu Kyi's visit to the US overshadow Thein Sein's official visit to America, CNN reported.

Suu Kyi recently met with President Barack Obama and received the Congressional Gold Medal.