Washington: Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time will address a key US Congressional panel on the ground realities in the country.

Congressman Donald Manzullo of the US House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific today said he has received a pre-recorded video message from Suu Kyi to be played during the hearing on Wednesday.
   
Manzullo is co-author with Congressman Joseph Crowley of the legislation that awarded 66 year-old democracy icon the Congressional Gold Medal in 2008 (actual presentation of the medal has yet to take place)
   
Amid talks with Washington on improving bilateral ties, the military-backed regime has announced a political transition.

Washington-based US campaign for Burma said the timing of the hearing could not be more urgent, as the government continues to launch military offensives against ethnic resistance groups in the northern part of the country. 

The offensives in Shan State and Kachin State has driven nearly 20,000 refugees into hiding along the China-Myanmar border and into China.
   
Additional witnesses include Aung Din, executive director and co-founder of the campaign and former political prisoner from Myanmar and Dr Chris Beyrer, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights.
   
Dr Beyrer is the co-author of several studies on the situation of public health and human rights in Myanmar.

(Agencies)