U.S. President Barack Obama says that he is optimistic about political change in Myanmar but that more work is needed to push forward with reforms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday (November 13) he is optimistic about political change in Myanmar but that more work was needed to push forward with reforms. Myanmar emerged from international pariah status when a semi-civilian government took power four years ago and initiated a wave of liberal change after nearly half a century of military rule. But the pace of change has stalled, and Obama said this week the country was "backsliding" on some reforms. "I'm confident there will be a completely new day for Myanmar," Obama told reporters after meeting law makers in the country's capital, Naypyitaw. "The work is not done here." Obama did not say whether he discussed constitutional reform with the members of parliament. Among the group was opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is not eligible to become president under the existing constitution. Obama will meet Suu Kyi again on Friday at her home in Myanmar's largest city, Yangon. She and other politicians made no comment after the meeting. "It was excellent discussion about this transition taking place in Myanmar around consolidating some of the gains that have been made," Obama said of the talks. "But also pushing further to institute a genuine democracy here in this country that can serve the needs of all of its people." How to protect minority rights was another key issue in the reforms, Obama said. The persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority faces a humanitarian crisis in western Rakhine state, and U.S. officials on Thursday called for Myanmar to draft a new plan to allow them to become citizens.