World Bulletin/News Desk
Australia will lift its remaining financial and travel sanctions against Myanmar and double its aid in a move to encourage further democratic reform as the country tentatively emerges from decades of military rule, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said.
The lifting of economic sanctions, which follows a U.S. suspension of sanctions, will come into effect in coming weeks but Australia's arms embargo against Myanmar will remain in place, Carr said in a statement.
"Myanmar has made great strides over the past year, though there is more to be done," Carr said.
"The point has been reached where lifting sanctions is the best way to promote further progress," he said.
Carr met President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday during a visit to the former Burma.
Myanmar has been slowly putting in place democratic reforms that have attracted the interest of investors and persuaded Western governments to suspend or lift sanctions.
In April, Australia outlined its plan to ease sanctions and normalise bilateral trade relations in recognition of the reforms over the past year. Ruled by a military dictatorship for most of its contemporary history, Myanmar held parliamentary by-elections in April.
The United States announced the suspension of sanctions against Myanmar in May, allowing U.S. energy, mining and financial services companies to look for opportunities in an economy that had been run down by five decades of military rule.
Carr said President Thein Sein and Suu Kyi had also been invited to visit Australia and that Australia will more than double its annual aid to Myanmar, one of the poorest countries in the world, to A$100 million ($99 million) by 2015.
He acted quickly -- just a day after decades of Castro rule ended and long time party loyalist Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed power as president.
Multimillion-dollar lawsuit raises issue of hacking of Democratic National Committee’s servers
Syrian regime would be 'ill-advised' to ignore message sent by last week’s allied missile strike, says US Defense Secretary
At least 39 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli interventions since border rallies began March 30
Thursday’s vote make Diaz-Canel first person outside Castro family to rule country in almost 60 years
Syrian regime had no clear picture of what was happening to them, says U.S. general, referring to U.S.-led joint attack
Hamas, Islamic Jihad announced plans earlier to boycott scheduled meeting of PLO’s National Council
Canadian provinces at war over future delivery of oil to Pacific countries
Terrorists killed during operations in Saladin governorate
Decision follows Ecuador’s withdrawal as mediator in talks between Bogota and rebel group
The economic damage of trade war will be smaller than its perceived risk, experts say
Top court says in 5-4 decision federal statute is 'unconstitutionally vague'
'Both chlorine and sarin gas were used in the attack,' says State Department spokesperson
Move ‘is just one step in a journey that requires dedication,’ says coffee chain’s CEO
Turkish Air Force targets Zap region in northern Iraq, according to military
German foreign minister calls for reviving political talks after US-led airstrikes on Assad regime