During their historic first meeting, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon praised Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as a real leader (who) demonstrates flexibility for the greater cause of the people of a country.
Ban visited Suu Kyi at her home at the end of his three-day trip to Myanmar, during which he became the first foreigner to address parliament.
According to CNN, after holding a discussion inside the place where Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest, the two spoke to the media from Suu Kyi's porch, where a number of international leaders have stood in recent months.
It's a great honor for me to finally have face-to-face meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Ban told reporters outside of Suu Kyi's house in Yangon on Tuesday.
It is not the lack of my trying, but simply that it didn't happen and they didn't allow, he added, referring to his trip to Myanmar in 2009, when the government refused to let him meet with the then-detained Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Myanmar just completed historic parliamentary by-elections, in which Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy party took 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house.uk
The vote was the latest step toward reform taken by a country ruled for 50 years by an oppressive military junta. Since the new civilian government took office, a number of world leaders -- including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UK Prime Minister David Cameron -- have visited the country to say that long-standing sanctions should be lifted as further reforms take place.
On Tuesday, Ban echoed statements about international sanctions and said that Myanmar's move toward democracy may be difficult, but there is no turning back.
Before Ban's visit, Suu Kyi, who also won a seat in parliament during the elections, led her party in a boycott of parliament to protest the wording of the oath of office. The NLD wanted the oath changed to say that MPs swear to abide by the constitution rather than protect it.
Although the government refused to change the oath, Suu Kyi ended the boycott on Monday.
I really admire and respect her decision, Ban said. I'm sure she'll play a very constructive and active role as a parliamentarian.