Thai Foreign Minister hails Myanmar amnesty for political prisoners

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BANGKOK, Jan 14 — Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Saturday hailed the move by Myanmar government to free more than 300 political prisoners as a milestone that will lead the country to democracy.

Myanmar said on Friday it has pardoned some 600 prisoners including more than 300 prominent political dissidents, journalists and former premier Khin Nyunt who was placed under house arrest after a power struggle in 2004.

Mr Surapong said the amnesty was a positive sign in Myanmar and a step further towards democracy.

He also urged the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) to end economic sanctions against Myanmar, as the situation in the country has totally changed and they have made significant progress for reforms.

The minister added that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers™ Meeting (AMM) Retreat in Siem Reap, Cambodia earlier this week agreed to encourage the US and EU to end their sanctions against Myanmar.

The ASEAN members also supported Myanmar to assume the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014, said Mr Surapong.