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Myanmar’s president, army chief to meet Suu Kyi

October 29, 2014

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s president has invited opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the military commander-in-chief, and the speaker of parliament to meet with him on Friday, less than two weeks before the arrival of President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

It is to be Suu Kyi’s first meeting with commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, who plays a crucial political role under the country’s constitution and has veto power over constitutional amendments. Several other politicians have also been invited to take part.

After winning international praise for helping steer the country from dictatorship to democracy, President Thein Sein’s nominally civilian government is facing mounting criticism that early political reforms and peace talks with ethnic rebels have stalled.

An invited politician who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the meeting said Wednesday that it would be held in the capital, Naypyitaw.

Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from running for president in next year’s election, has been calling for a meeting with the president, commander-in-chief and parliamentary speaker for nearly a year to discuss the country’s political reform process. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been repeatedly rebuffed.

Critics said Friday’s meeting would be little more than window dressing — an attempt to show participants at the upcoming East Asian Summit that political dialogue is continuing.

“It’s a PR stunt,” said Yan Myo Thein, a political analyst. “The government has a tendency to hold such high-profile meetings to coincide with regional or international events. I don’t expect any tangible outcome from this meeting.”

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