August 17, 2009
Myanmar has released and deported US citizen John William Yettaw, who was recently sentenced by a local district court to serve seven years' rigorous imprisonment.
Yettaw then left Myanmar on the afternoon of August 16 with Democrat Senator of the US Jim Webb, who concluded his three-day visit to the country.
Yettaw, 54, was convicted on August 11 by the court on charge of entering into the restricted residence of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), in early May.
The release was secured through efforts made by Webb, who met with Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Senior-General Than Shwe, Prime Minister Thein Sein and leaders of several political parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
Webb, Chairman of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, arrived in Myanmar on August 14 for a three-day visit at the invitation of Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win.
The Myanmar visit forms part of Webb’s trip to five Southeast Asian nations, including Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Speaking at a press briefing in Bangkok, Thailand, the third leg of the US senator’s five-nation trip, Webb said the Myanmar government’s decision to free Yettaw and permit him to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi would lay a basis for goodwill and building trust between the US and Myanmar. This was the first visit to Myanmar by a member of the US Congress in more than a decade, expecting to improve relations between the two nations.