Jun 9, 2012

Australian FM's visit strengthens ties with Myanmar

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr 's three-day visit to Myanmar in a bid to monitor the country's reform efforts and to expand development assistance to the nation has strengthened bilateral relations and amity.
Carr's visit was highlighted by his announcement of Australia's lifting of its remaining financial and travel sanctions on Myanmar and doubling its annual aid to 100 million Australian dollars (99 million U.S. dollars) by 2015 in a move to encourage further democratic reform, while keeping arms embargo in place.
Australia provided Myanmar development aid annually and the aid had been extended to 29 million U.S. dollars in 2010 and to 47 million U.S. dollars in 2011.
In a meeting between Myanmar President U Thein Sein and Carr in Nay Pyi Taw during the visit, discussions were made on development in education, health and human resources, conservation of ancient cultural heritage sites, providing assistance for the success local peace-making process and rehabilitation tasks in the regions where peace have been achieved.
They also touched on the issues of investment in tourism industry and mineral exploration, technology upgradation and promotion of relations between armed forces of the two countries.
Carr also met Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin and speaker of the parliamentary House of Representatives (Lower House) U Shwe Mann and discussions focused on conservation of underground and above-ground natural resources of Myanmar and environment, exchange of science and technology between the two countries, sending of scholars, further cementing of friendly ties and cooperation between the two parliaments, the two governments and the two peoples.
Also during his visit, Carr met Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Yangon who voiced welcome of Australia's decision to ease sanctions against her country after talks with Carr.
Carr invited both President U Thein Sein and Parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Australia at a date convenient for them.
Australia has been assisting Myanmar with humanitarian financial aid to carry out effective projects in health, education and agricultural development plans.
In May 2008 when cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, Australia provided 65 million dollars' aid supply for the relief and resettlement programs for cyclone survivors.
The Australian government also provided scholarship to post- graduate Myanmar university students for the academic year 2010-11 to help develop the country's human resources.
In 2009, an Australian college offered 10,000 Australian dollars' scholarships to Myanmar students for their pursuit of further study at the Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sidney.
In the same year, two universities from Australia -- Central Queensland University and Jame Cook University, along with other 20 international schools, participated in a Myanmar-hosted international education fair in Lashio, Shan state.
Moreover, the Australian Agency for International Development ( AUSAID) provided 750,000 million U.S. dollars' aid in 2009 to help Myanmar reduce infection of HIV virus in the countries as part of its 3 million dollars' aid to three countries which also include Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Sourc: Xinhua