Hague praises Myanmar reformsJanuary 6th, 2012 - 11:27 pm ICT by IANS
Yangon, Jan 6 (IANS) British Foreign Secretary William Hague wrapped up his two-day official visit to Myanmar Friday by praising the reforms initiated by the new government.
“If the country continues on this promising path, as we hope it will, we are ready to offer a new relationship based on friendship and partnership,” Hague said at a press conference here.
He proposed three steps for the Myanmar government: the release of all remaining political prisoners, holding of credible, free and fair by-elections and political dialogue to end ethnic conflicts, Xinhua reported.
“We are ready to move towards a strong, positive and open relationship as reforms take place and to respond bilaterally and through the European Union,” he said.
He added that the EU will judge Myanmar’s progress at an EU meeting in April which may also deliberate on the issue of economic sanctions on Myanmar.
Britain is the biggest bilateral aid donor for Myanmar, committing 185 million pounds ($289 million) for the next four years to fund health and education projects through non-governmental organisations.
He said the funding for micro-finance initiatives will help up to 55,000 rural people in setting up and developing small-scale enterprises.
Hague added that Britain will provide additional support for peace building efforts in Kachin state that is deep in conflict.
During his visit, Hague met with Myanmar President U Thein Sein, Parliamentary Speaker U Shwe Mann and his Myanmar counterpart U Wunna Maung Lwin in Nay Pyi Taw, as well as Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political figures in Yangon.
Hague arrived in Nay Phi Taw Thursday, the first British foreign secretary to visit Myanmar in 56 years.
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Tags: aid donor, aung san suu, aung san suu kyi, bilateral aid, economic sanctions, education projects, ethnic conflicts, maung lwin, micro finance, myanmar government, non governmental organisations, open relationship, parliamentary speaker, political dialogue, political prisoners, promising path, san suu kyi, secretary william, shwe, william hague