William Hague hails reforms but says Burma needs to do more

THE international community must maintain pressure on Burma’s government to make further “bold steps” towards reform, Foreign Secretary William Hague said yesterday as he completed a historic visit to the south-east Asian country.

Mr Hague said that he was “encouraged” by liberalising measures introduced since President Thein Sein’s arrival in office last year, but insisted that more ambitious action is needed, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners.

His comments came after a meeting with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Mr Hague described the visit as “a gesture of good intent on the part of the United Kingdom” in the light of the new regime’s reforms, adding that “if the country continues on this promising path, as we hope it will, we are ready to offer a new relationship based on friendship and prosperity”.

He announced that Britain will provide £2 million additional aid for thousands of people displaced by conflict in the country.