Visit to Myanmar

Media release

5 June 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr will depart today for a three day visit to Myanmar.

Senator Carr said his visit would provide an opportunity to assess what more Australia, as a neighbouring country, can do to support reform efforts in Myanmar.

"Myanmar is undergoing historic change and Australia is enormously encouraged by the transition taking place.

"We have already recognised reform by easing our sanctions and normalising our approach to trade and investment.

"But there is more we can do, including through expanding our development assistance, to help ensure reforms in Myanmar are sustained," Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr is expected to meet senior figures in the Myanmar Government, Parliamentary leaders and political reformists, including Aung San Suu Kyi and civil society representatives.

He will also meet ethnic community leaders and members of the 88 Generation student movement, many of whom are former political prisoners released earlier this year.

"There is now a better chance for sustained democratic reform in Myanmar than there has been for over half a century.

"It is critical the West, including Australia, continue to support Myanmar's reform process.

"During my visit, I look forward to announcing further Australian initiatives, including in relation to our aid program, support for human rights and peace-building.

"Sustainable political and economic reforms will improve the prospects of the people of Myanmar and allow Myanmar to fulfil its considerable potential in the region and globally," Senator Carr said.

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