Congress to honour Burma's Suu Kyi

The US government is to award Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi its highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Officials said the ceremony would take place on September 19 during Ms Suu Kyi's visit to the United States.

The Nobel Peace laureate and former political prisoner was unable to leave her home country for more than 20 years.

The opposition parliament leader was recently greeted enthusiastically during trips to Thailand and Europe.

In addition to the congressional award, Ms Suu Kyi will be presented with the Atlantic Council's Global Citizen Award on September 21 in New York.

The US State Department said Ms Suu Kyi would be invited for meetings with government officials during her visit.

Ms Suu Kyi, elected in April, will be feted for her long struggle against military rule in her homeland and for championing democracy.

She is revered by Republicans and Democrats, has been a guiding force in US policy towards Burma over the past two decades, and has been supportive of the Obama administration's engagement of the reformist Burma president Thein Sein.

The US recently suspended investment sanctions that had been in force against Burma for 15 years. Ms Suu Kyi cautiously supported that move, but it did expose a rare difference between her views and those of the US government.

The US decided to allow American companies to invest with Burma's state oil and gas enterprise, but Ms Suu Kyi has opposed foreign companies working with that enterprise because of its lack of openness.