Obama: Myanmar visit marks 'next step'

Associated Press
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People holding a poster with portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama, left, Myanmar President Thein Sein, center, and Myanmar opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as they wait to welcome the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama at Yangon International Airport Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — President Barack Obama says his historic visit to Myanmar marks the next step in a new chapter between the two countries.

Speaking after a private meeting with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ahng sahn soo chee), Obama said he's seen encouraging signs of progress in the country in the past year. Those signs, he said, include Suu Kyi's release from house arrest and her election to parliament.

Long shunned because of a repressive military rule, a transition to democracy began last year after a nominally civilian government took office and began taking steps toward democracy.

Obama says ties between the U.S. and Myanmar will grow stronger if the moves toward democracy continue.

He is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar, which also is known as Burma.