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Myanmar president to pay state visits to Australia, New Zealand
Xinhua | December 05, 2012 15:26
By Agencies
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Myanmar President U Thein Sein will pay state visits to Australia and New Zealand in the near future, an official announcement from Nay Pyi Taw said Wednesday without specifying the date of his visits.

Thein Sein's visit to Australia came after his first exchange with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 28 years on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Vientiane in November.

In June, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr visited Myanmar to monitor the country's reform efforts.

Before Carr's trip to Myanmar, Australia had lifted its remaining financial and travel sanctions on Myanmar and doubled its annual aid to AU$100 million ($99 million) 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 in 2010 and to $47 million in 2011.

Thein Sein's visit to New Zealand came after John Key set foot on Myanmar for the first time in 54 years in November since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in November 1954.

During his November visit, Key announced an aid package worth NZ$7 million ($5.71 million) to Myanmar after a meeting with Thein Sein.

Over the next five years, New Zealand would invest 6 million NZ dollars in building up Myanmar's dairy farming capabilities, to complement the funding already available for scholarships and the English language training for officials program.

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Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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