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Myanmar promises prisoner amnesty

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 12:00

United Nations: Military-dominated Myanmar
says its recent democratic reforms are irreversible and has promised a prisoner amnesty in the near future.

Foreign Minister Wanna Maung Lwin told the UN General
Assembly yesterday that talks last month between Myanmar`s
president and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi were intended
to put aside differences and find common grounds to cooperate.

The minister urged nations to lift economic sanctions.
In November Myanmar held its first elections in 20 years. The new government is nominally civilian but remains dominated by the military, which has ruled since 1962.

Western nations are urging Myanmar to free its more than 2,000 political prisoners and reconcile with Suu Kyi, whose party won 1990 elections but was barred from taking power.

The party boycotted the November poll, saying the rules
governing it were unfair. Wanna Maung Lwin gave no details
about the planned amnesty, other than that it would happen "at
an appropriate time in the near future."

"We hope the near future will come very soon," said
British Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant, after a meeting
later yesterday of the so-called Friends of Myanmar, a group
of about 15 interested Western and Asian nations.

In his address, Wanna Maung Lwin referred to a May amnesty
granted by President Thein Sein that he said led to the
release of 20,000 prisoners by the end of July.

Western nations were, however, disappointed, as only a few
dozen political detainees were reportedly freed.


First Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 12:00

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