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President Obama Says Myanmar's Political Reform 'Still Incomplete'

The comments came during a joint press conference with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi today at the home where she was held prisoner for almost 20 years.

The President acknowledged the progress the country was making toward democratic reform, but called for constitutional reform to ensure fair elections in 2015.

He also talked about the plight of the country’s persecuted Muslim minority, the Rohingya, saying that, “discrimination against the Rohingya or any other religious minority does not express the kind of country that Burma over the long term wants to be.”

This is President Obama’s second visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, since the country began its surprising transition away from nearly 50 years of authoritarian military rule.

Critics of the President’s policy toward Myanmar, like regional expert Joshua Kurlantzick, say the President’s focus on the country has not paid off and “has taken time and attention away from more important regions and issues in Asia.”

Vikram Nehru, senior associate of the Asia Program, and Bakrie Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace spoke with Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd about Obama’s recent visit.

Guest

  • Vikram Nehru, senior associate of the Asia Program, and Bakrie Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speak during a press conference at her residence in Yangon on November 14, 2014. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
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U.S. President Barack Obama and Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speak during a press conference at her residence in Yangon on November 14, 2014. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
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