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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes’ Meeting with Shwe Mann, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament of Burma

Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes met today at the White House with Burma’s Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, Shwe Mann.  Mr. Rhodes and Speaker Shwe Mann discussed the work of the Parliament and current efforts toward democratic reform in Burma, and Mr. Rhodes reiterated the U.S. commitment to deepen our bilateral engagement as the reform effort moves forward.  Mr. Rhodes noted the progress made toward a national ceasefire agreement that would end long-running internal conflicts and expressed hope that political dialogue will lead to an equitable and durable peace.  They discussed the steps that are being taken to prepare for inclusive national elections, as well as the need to move forward with a credible constitutional reform process to ensure progress towards a lasting democratic transition.  Mr. Rhodes also raised concerns about the draft “Laws to Protect Race and Religion” and the need to ensure equal protections for all of Burma's diverse peoples - including religious minorities, and underscored the urgent need to fulfill the government's commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of all those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State.  Mr. Rhodes underscored President Obama's personal commitment to supporting the reform process and engagement between our countries and peoples going forward.