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Myanmar, Australia to enhance cooperation on development programs

By Feng Yingqiu (Xinhua)

13:47, February 01, 2013

YANGON, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar and Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding in Nay Pyi Taw recently on cooperation in socio-economic development, a latest move aimed at uplifting mutual economic and social networks.

Under the MoU, Australia will assist Myanmar in poverty alleviation and sustainable development programs.

Before Myanmar President U Thein Sein made the first exchange with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 28 years on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Vientiane in November last year, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr visited Myanmar in June of the year to monitor the country's reform efforts.

Along with Carr's engagement with Myanmar, Australia lifted its remaining financial and travel sanctions on Myanmar and doubled its annual aid to 100 million Australian dollars (104.3 million U. S. dollars) by 2015 in a move to encourage further democratic reform, while keeping arms embargo in place.

Australia has been providing Myanmar with development aid annually and the aid had been extended to 29 million U.S. dollars in 2010 and to 47 million U.S. dollars in 2011.

In the exchange of the two countries' leadership, development in education, health and human resources and conservation of ancient cultural heritage sites were touched upon.

They also touched on the issues of investment in tourist industry and mineral exploration and technology upgradation.

Myanmar and Australia agreed on cooperation in conservation of underground and above-ground natural resources of Myanmar and environment, exchange of science and technology between the two countries, sending of scholars, further cementing of friendly ties and cooperation between the two parliaments, the two governments and the two peoples.

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