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Burma’s government is planning to free more political prisoners as early as next month, a minister said in Norway, while democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was on a four-day visit.
Speaking on the sidelines of an Oslo conference that was addressed by Suu Kyi, the minister also stressed that the government of President Thein Sein was as committed to democracy as the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
“We also move to the road to democracy,” said Industry Minister U Soe Thane. “We’re going in the same direction — tactically different, strategically right, on the same track, in the same boat.”
On Suu Kyi’s hero welcome in Europe — where she is on a five-nation tour after many years of house arrest and isolation — he said: “I am proud of that, proud of her. A Myanmar lady in Europe, it’s a good thing.”
Asked about Suu Kyi’s call at her Nobel lecture last Saturday to free remaining political prisoners jailed under the former junta, he said: “You better look in July. Maybe, maybe. I’m not the decision-maker.”
He explained that the government was now reviewing cases to ensure no one guilty of a violent crime is released.
“We have the idea to release the rest of the people. An idea, not an order… It’s an ongoing process,” he told AFP.
On the economy, he said the government shared Suu Kyi’s position that future foreign investment, as western sanctions are being rolled back, must be made in an ethical, sustainable and transparent way.
“A rush is OK, but not a gold rush,” he said.