NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's president held rare talks Friday with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and more than a dozen of the country's political and military heavyweights.
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 parliament speaker for nearly a year to discuss the nation's political reform process.
Until now, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been repeatedly rebuffed.
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.
Critics said Friday's meeting would be little more than window dressing — an attempt to show participants at an upcoming East Asia Summit that political dialogue is continuing. The summit will be held in Myanmar next month and President Barack Obama is expected to attend along with other world leaders.
Few details have been released about the talks, which are being held in the capital, Naypyitaw, but a news conference is expected to follow.
More than a dozen other political and party leaders are took part, including military chief Min Aung Hlaing, who plays a crucial political role under the country's constitution and has veto power over constitutional amendments.