The president of Myanmar promised to release all political prisoners by the end of this year on Monday and said he thought a nationwide ceasefire was possible in the coming weeks for the first time in six decades.
"By the end of the year there will be no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar,” President Thein Sein told an audience at the Chatham House think tank in London. A special committee was reviewing every political prisoner’s case, he added.
Sein, who met Prime Minister David Cameron earlier on Monday, also said he thought a nationwide ceasefire was possible in the coming weeks after the government signed a peace deal aimed at ending the final ethnic conflict last month.
"It’s possible that there will be a nationwide ceasefire in the coming weeks," he said. "It would be the first time in 60 years that the guns fall silent."
Sein added that his country didn’t want to become aid dependent, but needed help to weather a transition period and stand on its own two feet.
Sein is on a two-day visit to Britain to talk trade, aid and democracy before travelling on to France.