London, Aug 16: US Senator Jim Webb held a private meeting with the head of the Myanmar military on Saturday, Aug 15 and secured the release of American prisoner John Yettaw.
Yettaw had caused controversy in May 2009 by swimming, uninvited, across a lake to the home of the Myanmar opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years.
The India-based Burmese news agency Mizzima, which is run by Burmese exiles, quoted a government directive saying that Yettaw would be freed following the meeting between Webb and General Than Shwe.
"The American John Yettaw is hereby ordered to be deported to his home country on humanitarian grounds in consideration of his health," The Guardian quoted Burmese officials, as saying
Webb's office later confirmed Yettaw would be leaving with the senator on Sunday, Aug 16 on a military plane. Webb said he was grateful to the Burmese military junta and called for further engagement with the country.
"I am grateful to the Myanmar government for honouring these requests ... It is my hope that we can take advantage of these gestures as a way to begin laying a foundation of goodwill and confidence-building in the future," Webb said in a statement.