The US has extended sanctions against Myanmar for another year, in a bid to ensure the country continues to adopt democratic reforms while protecting its minorities, including the Muslim Rohingyas.
But the Obama administration has also relaxed some visa restrictions imposed against the former military regime, ahead of the reported visit to Washington DC by president Thein Sein, a first by a Myanmar leader since 1966.
One of the issues that Obama is expected to raise in his discussion with Thein Sein is the continued violence between the Buddhist majority and minority Rohingya Muslims. But in Rakhine state, where sectarian tension still simmers, some leader in the Buddhist community are campaigning for religious segregation.
Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from the Rakhine state capital of Sittwe.