Foreign Minister to visit Burma

Media release

24 June 2011

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will travel to Burma next week to discuss ways Australia can support positive reform and development in one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia.

The visit to Burma will be the first by an Australian Foreign Minister since 2002.

Mr Rudd is scheduled to meet members of the new Burmese Government and leaders across the political spectrum, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

"This visit comes at a critical juncture in Burma's history and will allow the Australian Government to assess how it can best support reform and economic development.”

Australian overseas development assistance to Burma has significantly increased in the past two years - from $29.1 million in 2009-10 to $47.6 million in 2011-12, and is on track to reach $50 million by 2012-13.

"I will use these meetings to reiterate Australia's long-standing calls for genuine progress towards national reconciliation and democratic reform,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd will depart tonight to travel to Equatorial Guinea, where he will join Foreign Ministers for the opening session of the African Union Executive Council Meeting.

Australian resource companies have over $20 billion invested in Africa, with more than 230 mining and resource companies operating at least 650 projects across the continent.

Mr Rudd will address the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Kazakhstan.

The OIC has a membership of 56 nations, making up nearly a quarter of the world’s population and with a combined GDP of US$5 trillion.

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