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Obama to meet Suu Kyi in Myanmar on Nov 14

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 06:51
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US President Barack Obama will meet Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on November 14 during a six-day trip that also includes stops in China and Australia, the White House said Tuesday.

[WASHINGTON] US President Barack Obama will meet Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on November 14 during a six-day trip that also includes stops in China and Australia, the White House said Tuesday.

Earlier in the November 12-14 Myanmar stop, Mr Obama will participate in a US-ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, where a bilateral meeting with Myanmar President Thein Sein is planned, the statement said.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party is favoured in legislative elections at the end of 2015, but the Myanmar constitution currently bars her from running for president.

Last month, the parliament agreed to consider changing the constitution to allow her candidacy.

Mr Obama called the Myanmar president last week to underscore "the need for an inclusive and credible process for conducting the 2015 elections." The government has promised the vote next year will be the freest in the country's modern history after the military ceded direct power to a quasi-civilian government three years ago.

Thein Sein has surprised the international community in recent years with a number of dramatic reforms that have seen international sanctions removed as Myanmar opens up to the world.

But the country still faces a myriad of challenges - including an opaque legal system, creaking infrastructure and significant poverty levels - that will need to be tackled by any new government after next year's election.

Mr Obama's Asia trip will also include a stop in China from November 10 to 12, where he is to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and make a state visit with President Xi Jinping.

And from November 15 to 16, Mr Obama will head to Australia for the G-20 Leaders Summit and to deliver a speech on US leadership in the Asia-Pacific.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has sparred with the West over Ukraine, is among the leaders expected to be in Australia, but the White House has given no indication of a possible meeting between him and Obama.

They last met briefly in early June in France on the sidelines of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Separately Tuesday, top American diplomat John Kerry said the relationship between the United States and China was the "most consequential" in the world today, warning it needed to be "carefully managed."

Ties between the two powerful economies will "do much to determine the shape of the 21st century," Mr Kerry said, before leaving on what will be his fourth trip to China since becoming secretary of state 21 months ago.

AFP

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