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Myanmar: Barack Obama meets opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

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President Barack Obama has met Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon.

At a news briefing with the US president, Aung San Suu Kyi has said constitutional rules which bar her from running for president because her sons are half British are “unfair, unjust and undemocratic”.

She said the reform process in the once military-ruled nation had hit a “bumpy patch”.

Aung San Suu Kyi said it could be brought on track with international help.

President Barack Obama said the reforms were “by no means complete or irreversible”.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, moved from military to civilian rule in 2010 and is governed by a military-backed civilian administration.

Under Thein Sein, many political prisoners have been freed and media restrictions eased. The pro-democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest, has rejoined the political fold and holds a small block of seats in parliament.

President Barack Obama has met Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon

President Barack Obama has met Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon

Critics have warned that reforms have stalled in recent months, as all eyes turn to 2015 when the next general election will be held.

A clause in the new constitution states that anyone whose spouse or children are foreign citizens cannot run for the top job. Aung San Suu Kyi’s late husband was British and her two sons are British citizens.

Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters outside her home: “I always warn against over-optimism, because that could lead to complacency.

“Our reform process is going through a bumpy patch, but this bumpy patch is something we can negotiate with commitment, with help and understanding from our friends around the world.

“What we need is a healthy balance of optimism and pessimism.”

Barack Obama was in the Burmese capital, Nay Pyi Taw, on November 13 for an Asian summit where he held talks with President Thein Sein.

He said the process of reform was “by no means complete or irreversible” and added that the US “recognizes the challenges ahead and cannot be complacent”.


“I don’t understand a provision that would bar someone from running for president because of who their children are. That doesn’t make much sense to me,” he said.

Aung San Suu Kyi said the Burmese people supported the opposition’s call to amend the clause, but added: “I don’t think it’s because they want me to be president, but because they recognize it’s unfair, unjust and undemocratic.”

Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won a landslide victory in the by-elections in 2012. It did not contest the November 2010 general election because of laws it said were unfair.

Barack Obama said he and Aung San Suu Kyi had discussed ways of bolstering Myanmar’s transition.

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.