US optimism ebbs over Myanmar reforms

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Associated Press

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 4:04 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 4 at 7:03 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two years after the U.S. announced the normalization of diplomatic relations with Myanmar, optimism in Washington over the nation's embrace of democracy is waning and concern over the plight of minority Muslims is growing.

What has been viewed as a foreign policy success story for the Obama administration faces a rocky road ahead as the pace of political reform slows and U.S. congressional criticism intensifies.

Lawmakers are frustrating the administration's efforts to engage the nation's powerful military, and antipathy will likely increase if opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ahng sahn soo chee) is unable to run for the presidency next year.

But the most pressing concern for U.S. policymakers is communal violence between majority Buddhists and Muslims and the lack of humanitarian access to tens of thousands displaced people.

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