WASHINGTON (AFP) - 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 Myamar stop, Mr Obama will participate in a US-ASEAN Summit in Nay Pi Taw, where a bilateral meeting with Myanmar president Thein Sein is planned, the statement said.
Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party is favored in upcoming 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.
Mr Thein Sein has surprised the international community in recent years with a number of dramatic reforms that have seen international sanctions removed as the country 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 10-12, where he is to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and have a state visit with President Xi Jinping. And from November 15-16, Mr Obama will head to Australia for the G20 Leaders Summit and to deliver a speech on US leadership in the Asia-Pacific.