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US welcomes Myanmar committee on dissidents

Myanmar President Thein Sein pictured in New Delhi on December 20, 2012
Myanmar President Thein Sein pictured in New Delhi on December 20, 2012. On Thursday, state media said Thein Sein had established a committee to review political prisoner cases "to grant them liberty."

The United States welcomed the creation of a committee to review and release Myanmar's last remaining political prisoners.

After long denying their existence, the Myanmar regime has freed hundreds of political detainees since President Thein Sein took power in March 2011, and announced a review of all "politically concerned" cases in November.

On Thursday, state media said Thein Sein had established a committee to review political prisoner cases "to grant them liberty."

"By establishing an inclusive, transparent review mechanism to ensure the release of all remaining political prisoners, the government has taken an important step toward national reconciliation," US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

"We look forward to supporting the implementation of this process," she added, recalling that Thein Sein's government had released more than 700 political prisoners over the past 18 months.

The English-language New Light of Myanmar said committee members have yet to be picked, but will be made up of government representatives as well as civil society groups and other political party members.

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