Myanmar president postpones visit to Australia, New Zealand

2012-12-06 04:05:47 GMT2012-12-06 12:05:47(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

YANGON, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar President Thein Sein's originally scheduled state visit to Australia and New Zealand have been postponed, an official announcement from Nay Pyi Taw said Thursday.

The two sides will coordinate that the president's planned visit will be re-arranged at a mutually convenient time.

"At first, U Thein Sein has planned to visit to Australia and New Zealand next week", Director of President Office told Xinhua.

At the invitation of his Australian counterpart Quentin Bryce who is Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and his New Zealand counterpart John Key who is Prime Minister of New Zealand, Thein Sein will pay the visits as a follow-up of his recent trips to Laos in November and Brunei on Dec. 3.

Thein Sein's visit to Australia came after the first exchange with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 28 years on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Vientiane in November.

In June, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr visited Myanmar to monitor the country's reform efforts.

Before Carr's engagement with Myanmar, Australia had lifted its remaining financial and travel sanctions on Myanmar and doubled its annual aid to 100 million Australian dollars (99 million U.S. dollars) by 2015 in a move to encourage further democratic reform, while keeping arms embargo in place.

Australia provided Myanmar 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.

Thein Sein's visit to New Zealand came after John Key set foot Myanmar for the first time in 54 years in November since establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in November 1954.

During his November visit, Key announced an aid package worth 7 million NZ dollars (5.71 million U.S. dollars) to Myanmar after a meeting with Thein Sein.

Over the next five years, New Zealand would invest 6 million NZ dollars in building Myanmar's dairy farming capabilities, to complement the funding already available for scholarships and the English Language Training for Officials program.

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