Australia is the latest donor to take steps toward deeper engagement — in terms of aid, diplomacy and beyond — with Myanmar.
The country will double its annual aid to Myanmar to 100 million Australian dollars ($98.4 million) by 2015, according to Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. The increased aid will support basic education, health and livelihood programs in Myanmar, Carr explained.
Australia spent AU$48.8 million in aid to Myanmar for 2011-12 and has allocated AU$63.8 million for 2012-13. The 2012-13 budget will be used to support Myanmar’s education and health sectors through teacher training schemes, food aid programs for remote schools and vaccination campaigns.
During his visit, Carr also said that Australia has lifted all remaining financial and travel sanctions it has imposed on the Asian country. Australia did retain the option to re-impose the sanctions if required. Its arms embargo on Myanmar also remains in place.
Meanwhile, on the diplomacy front, Carr said he has invited Myanmar President Thein Sein and National League for Democracy chair Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Australia.
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