Australia will lift its remaining targeted travel and financial sanctions for Myanmar to encourage further democratic reform, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said today.
Senator Carr made this announcement following meetings in Myanmar with leading figures from government, parliament and civil society, including President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
"In meetings over the past two days, I've gained a first-hand appreciation of the reform effort under way.
"This is a time of great opportunity for the people of Myanmar, and countries like Australia should be doing what we can to add momentum to the process of democratisation.
"By lifting our remaining travel and financial sanctions Australia is lending further support to the reforms underway.
"Myanmar has made great strides over the past year, though there is more to be done.
"The point has been reached where lifting sanctions is the best way to promote further progress," Senator Carr said. In addition to lifting sanctions, Australia is increasing development assistance and providing practical assistance to boost professional capacity in Myanmar including through visitor exchange. "Constructive, responsible engagement will help Myanmar with its political, economic and social development plans.
"It will help raise health and education standards and help create jobs.
"Engagement, through exposure to international standards and best practice, will also help improve accountability and transparency.
"Promoting and, where necessary, having robust discussions about human rights and democracy in Myanmar will remain a central element of our engagement," Senator Carr said.
Australia has in place systems to screen potentially controversial visitors, which will continue to be used as appropriate in relation to Myanmar.
The lifting of remaining travel and financial sanctions will come into effect in the coming weeks. Australia will retain the capacity to re-impose targeted sanctions in relation to Myanmar if required.
Australia's arms embargo against Myanmar remains in place.
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