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.
Ahead of elections next year, the Philippines vice president has formed a new opposition party, sealing his departure from the president.
Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman confirms arresting of army general
At least 18 people have been killed in landslides that have hit West Bengal.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, 10 fatal crashes involving Indonesian military or police aircraft have occurred over the last decade.
The Chinese parliament has ratified an agreement, officiating the development of a second new bank.
A new national security law has been adopted in China which includes cyberspace “sovereignty” clause, as well as assets and activities in space, the deep sea and polar regions.
Senior official from World Uyghur Congress accuses Beijing of 'unnamed war against Muslims and Islam' and says world silent while persecution goes on
Afghan president promises to appoint women to senior positions in government and judiciary
China planning to improve relations with Russia through joint military training
The visit by the Chinese PM is the first official visit of a Chinese premier to France in nearly a decade
India's commerce ministry said in a notification that India bans oil trade and refined oil products trade with ISIL linked organisations.
China's prime minister has said that it will try to meet targets of CO2 emissions before 2030
The Japanese economic minister has said that austerity caused Greek economy to shrink
An Indonesian military transport plane crashed into a hotel and residential area in the northern Sumatra city of Medan on Tuesday, killing at least 49 people.
The Philippines embassy expresses ‘heartfelt appreciation’ to sultan and pardons board of western Selangor for sparing Jacqueline Quiamno
Groups led by rival brothers battle with rockets, heavy weapons