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Obama 'confident' of Myanmar change

November 13, 2014 5:01 pm

US President Barack Obama has said he is “optimistic” about the political transition process in Myanmar during a visit to the country – but added that “change is hard”.

His comments came after a night-time meeting with President Thein Sein.

Mr Obama had earlier met Burmese lawmakers, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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In an interview published on Wednesday, he had accused the government of backsliding on reforms.

The US president is in the capital Nay Pyi Taw for the East Asia summit.

Following the hour-long meeting with President Sein, he said that “the democratic process in Myanmar is real”.

“We recognise change is hard and you do not always move in a straight line but I’m optimistic,” he added.

President Sein, a former general, said the talks had been candid, according to the Associated Press news agency.

In 2010, Myanmar held elections which replaced military rule with the military-backed civilian government of Thein Sein.

Since then, many political prisoners have been released, media restrictions have eased and Ms Suu Kyi has been released from years of house arrest.

Amid the reforms, her National League for Democracy rejoined the political process and secured a small block of seats in parliament after a landslide win in by-elections in 2012.

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