In an unprecedented gesture, Myanmar President Thein Sein held talks today Friday with Nobel-winning opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, along with more than a dozen of the country's political and military heavyweights.
Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from running for president in next year's election; but has been calling for a meeting with the president, military commander in chief, and parliament speaker for nearly a year to discuss the nation's political reform process.
US President Barack Obama is expected to attend along with other world leaders. There is no word yet on whether neighboring India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will even send a representative to the meeting.
After winning international praise for helping steer the country from dictatorship to democracy, President Thein Sein's nominally civilian government is facing mounting criticism that early political reforms and peace talks with ethnic rebels have stalled.
The summit will be held in Myanmar next month. Few details have been released about the talks, which are being held in the capital Naypyitaw, but a news conference is expected to follow.
More than a dozen other political and party leaders of Myanmar, formerly Burma, are expected to take part, including military chief Min Aung Hlaing, who plays a crucial political role under the country's constitution and has veto power over constitutional amendments.