Myanmar has released more political prisoners, including leading dissidents, in a move that may bring the end of Western sanctions closer.
Officials in the former Burma said more than 650 inmates are covered by the amnesty. In October, around 230 political detainees were freed.
In a fresh sign that one of the world’s most reclusive states is opening up, fomer prime minister Khin Nyunt was among those liberated. Ousted in 2004 after falling from grace with the military junta, he had been sentenced to 44 years under house arrest.
There is now dialogue with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who will be able to take part in by-elections in April with her National League for Democracy.
On Thursday, a landmark ceasefire deal was signed with the ethnic minority rebel group the Karen National Union. This, too, is seen as another step towards the lifting of sanctions imposed by the EU and the United States.