Obama Praises Reforms in Historic Burma Visit

Thousands line streets as he meets Suu Kyi

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 19, 2012 2:38 AM CST | Updated Nov 19, 2012 5:25 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama praised progress in Burma and promised American help if reforms continue on his visit to the country today, the first by an American president. He met with pro-democracy leader and President Thein Sein before giving a televised speech at the University of Yangon, the AP reports. "Instead of being repressed, the right of people to assemble together must now be fully respected," Obama said in speech excerpts released by the White House. "Instead of being stifled, the veil of media censorship must continue to be lifted. As you take these steps, you can draw on your progress."

Tens of thousands of people, many of them waving American flags, lined the streets of Rangoon as Obama arrived in the city, the BBC reports. He met Suu Kyi in the compound where she spent many years under house arrest. "We are confident that this support will continue through the difficult years that lie ahead," she said of the help from America with Obama at her side. "The most difficult time in any transition is when you think that success is in sight. We have to be very careful that we're not lured by a mirage of success."

The crowd cheers as President Obama arrives at opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's residence in Myanmar today.
The crowd cheers as President Obama arrives at opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's residence in Myanmar today.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Obama and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speak to the press at her residence in Rangoon today.
President Obama and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speak to the press at her residence in Rangoon today.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Obama, right, waves as he embraces opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
President Obama, right, waves as he embraces opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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