WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington rolled out a red-carpet welcome on Wednesday for Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who was to hold talks with President Barack Obama and finally receive Congress’s highest honour. Obama will meet his fellow Nobel peace laureate for the first time in a private session at the White House, which will be closed to the press. The talks come a day after Suu Kyi called for an end to US sanctions on her impoverished country, saying “in the end we have to build our own democracy.” The Obama administration has taken pains to ensure the celebration around her visit does not detract from the simultaneous trip to the United States by Myanmar leader Thein Sein, who unleashed the reforms, much to global surprise. US officials have insisted Thein Sein deserves to be recognised for pushing through such speedy reforms in the South East Asian nation, which until last year had been run for half a century by the military. Freed in 2010 after 15 years of under house arrest, Suu Kyi has received a rapturous welcome on her first visit to Washington since her release. She was to receive the US Congress’ highest honour, the Congressional Gold Medal awarded in 2008 during her confinement. On Tuesday in her first public appearance of an 18-day trip, Suu Kyi thanked the United States for its support but said reforms must proceed without the pressure of sanctions. “I do not think that we need to cling onto sanctions unnecessarily because I want our people to be responsible for their own destiny and not to depend too much on external props,” Suu Kyi said, in a speech at the Asia Society.