Washington: Acknowledging that Myanmar still has a long way to go when it comes to protection of human rights and democracy, the United States has said the progress made by the country cannot be underestimated.
"We can`t underestimate the fact that Burma has made great progress in the last couple of years.
Yes, there`s still more work to do but, the progress they`ve made has been significant," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday.
"They have put in place an ambitious reform agenda. And we encourage them to keep doing more," she said as the United States welcomed release of more political prisoners by the Government of Myanmar on Thursday.
The release of political prisoners comes ahead of the US visit of Thein Sein, the President of Myanmar.
"We do welcome the reports that approximately 20 political prisoners were released today," she said, adding, with this more than 850 political prisoners have been released so far.
"So we continue to urge the government to work through the Political Prison Review Committee, which was specifically put in place to address remaining cases.
"And of course, we encourage them to release all political prisoners unconditionally," she said.
"There`s of course been great progress made and a number of positive reforms in Burma, including the release of these prisoners, including the easing of restrictions.
"But part of the discussion next week, I`m sure, will be about continued progress that needs to be made," Psaki said.
On Monday, May 20, the White House said Obama will welcome Thein Sein.
"The President looks forward to discussing with President Thein Sein the many remaining challenges to efforts to develop democracy, address communal and ethnic tensions, and bring economic opportunity to the people of his country, and to exploring how the United States can help," Psaki added.
Since Obama`s historic trip to Rangoon last November, the US has continued to advocate for continued progress on reform by his government, in close cooperation with Aung San Suu Kyi, civil society leaders, and the international community, Paski added.