YANGON, Myanmar – Democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi embraced President Barack Obama Friday and said relations with the United States were good despite “a bumpy patch” in her country’s progress towards free elections. "We may view things differently from time to time but that will in no way affect our relationship," she told reporters as the two held a news conference on the back patio of the home where she spent much of her time under house arrest. Released four years ago, she is now a member of Myanmar's Parliament but is unable to run in next year's presidential election because of a rule barring candidates with strong allegiances to a foreign national. Suu Kyi's sons are British, as was her late husband.
Obama said: "I don't understand a provision that would bar somebody from running for president because of who their children are. That doesn't make much sense to me." He has been pressing Myanmar's leaders to amend the country’s constitution but has been careful to not directly endorse his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate. "We shouldn't deny that [Myanmar] today is not the same as [Myanmar] five years ago," Obama said. "But the process is still incomplete."
The two were affectionate in their interactions, sharing a long embrace after their opening statements at the event on the sidelines of a regional summit.
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