Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Australia to advise Burma on elections

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 13:52 Mizzima News

Australian officials said on Monday they would advise Burma on elections and government structures and support its building an effective foreign investment regime.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr, after talks in New York with United Nations Special Adviser to Burma Vijay Nambiar, said there was further evidence that Burma’s democratic reforms were irreversible.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr after a meeting at Aung San Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

“Election reforms currently under consideration include greater freedom of assembly and speech, and the use of public spaces for independent political rallies," he said, according to a foreign office statement.

“Myanmar is also working towards freer foreign investment regimes to encourage infrastructure and resources industries with an acceptable rate of return for the nation itself,” he said.

Australia will lend experience and personnel to Burma to develop electoral systems, the registration of political parties and the holding of elections.

“Similar advice and support will be offered in establishing an investment regime,” he said.

Australia would also seek to change the wording of United Nations resolutions critical of Burma’s government, to take account of recent reforms, said the statement.

Carr said he sensed a store of goodwill towards Australia in Burma, as a result of Australia's leadership in lifting sanctions, providing aid and sponsoring capacity-building through visitors' and scholarships programs.

Australian aid to Burma will more than double to $100 million per year by 2015, with a focus on education and basic health care in remote and regional centres, the statement said.

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