Diplomats: Burmese Prisoner Release May be Imminent

Posted October 10th, 2011 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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Diplomats inside and outside Burma say the new Burmese government may be preparing to start releasing political prisoners jailed by the country's former military junta.

No details have been provided. But a Norwegian Foreign Affairs official and Burmese authorities were quoted Monday as saying a prisoner release would take place within days. The French news agency quotes an unidentified Burmese government official as saying the release would come before President Thien Sein departs Wednesday on an official visit to India.

Western governments are demanding the release of what is thought to be more than 2,000 jailed Burmese pro-democracy activists and their supporters, in return for lifting economic sanctions in place for much of the past decade.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told VOA's Burmese service on Monday that, in his words, “there are clearly changes afoot” in the Southeast Asian nation and that Washington is prepared to reciprocate.