Australia recognizes reform in Myanmar

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Báo Tuổi Trẻ English - 26 month(s) ago 2 readings

Australia recognizes reform in Myanmar

The Australian Government is supporting the democratic transition underway in Myanmar by easing autonomous sanctions and normalizing trade.

Myanmar Shwe Indein Pagoda near Inle Lake in Myanmar. Photo: Reuters

Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr and Trade Minister Craig Emerson said today the Australian Government, along with the international community, warmly welcomed the changes currently underway in Myanmar.

"Reducing our sanctions and encouraging trade recognize the far-reaching political, economic and social reforms we are witnessing in Myanmar in recent times," Senator Carr said.

"It is incumbent upon us now to support Burma in practical ways and seek greater engagement that will encourage these reforms to take root and sustain the conditions for further change to improve the lives of the Myanmese people."

The Ministers acknowledged the role of President Thein Sein and the Myanmese Government in delivering change, including through the release of over 500 political prisoners, progress toward peace with ethnic groups, and new laws that provide for greater freedom of expression and assembly, labour rights and political participation.

The sanctions adjustment will reduce the number of people subject to Australia's financial sanctions and travel restrictions from 392 to about 130 individuals.

Civilians, including the President and other reformists within the Government and Parliament, will be removed from the list, while serving military figures and individuals of human rights concern will remain. Australia will also retain its arms embargo.

"We will continue to encourage the Myanmese Government to continue down the path of reform, including by granting full political freedoms and reconciling with ethnic groups," Senator Carr said.

Dr Emerson said Australia would also discontinue its policy of neither encouraging nor discouraging trade nor investment with Burma.

"I welcome the opportunities that normalized trade ties will present for the Myanmese people and Australian companies," he said.

"Increased trade and investment will help support the reform process in Burma, as well as enhance the economic prospects of ordinary Myanmese."

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