9 Jan 2012

Hague 'encouraged' by Myanmar assurances

8:52 pm on 9 January 2012

Britain's Foreign Secretary says the Myanmar government has assured him reforms in the country are irreversible and political prisoners will be released.

William Hague was speaking to reporters at the start of a two-day visit to Myanmar, the first by a British foreign secretary in more than 50 years.

Mr Hague has described his visit as an opportunity to encourage the government to continue recent reforms and to gauge what support Britain can offer, the BBC reports.

Myanmar has embarked on a series of changes which the new civilian-led government says is part of a process of democratisation.

Mr Hague says he is encouraged by the steps taken so far, but wants to see more.

Sceptics fear the powerful military in Myanmar could still limit the scope and speed of any reforms.