Are aid donors repeating mistakes in Myanmar?
Lex Rieffel and James Fox
WASHINGTON — The transition in Myanmar that began two years ago — from a military to a quasi-civilian government — is the largest and most encouraging turnaround in the developing world in years.
Much credit goes to President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for deciding to collaborate in seeking to overcome three huge obstacles to progress in this impoverished and tragedy-prone country: ending the civil war that has been waged since independence, providing a policy and institutional framework that will enable the standard of living to rise rapidly, and exploiting the country’s abundant natural resources in a manner that benefits the whole population.
Is Oil One Reason For Genocide of Rohingya in Burma?
The Shwe pipeline, which ironically means Golden in Burmese, is due to open later this year. It will allow oil from the Gulf states and Africa to be pumped to China, bypassing a slower shipping route through the Strait of Malacca. It will also ship gas from off shore western Burma’s Arakan State, to southwest China.Last year there were two massacres against the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim-minority population who inhabit Arakan state, including the strategic port of Sittwe, which is the start of the pipeline on the Burmese coast. There are credible reports that the Burmese military is involved in the ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar president welcomes closer Australia ties
The first Myanmar leader to visit Australia since 1974, Thein Sein joined Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for a news conference where she announced it will restore limited military cooperation and increase business ties with the Southeast Asian country, which ended five decades of military rule in 2011.
Thein Sein asked for Australian understanding about the political challenges facing his resource-rich but impoverished country."I hope you will appreciate that what we are undertaking has no parallel in modern times," Thein Sein said through an interpreter at Australia's Parliament House.
Australia's Support for Reform in Myanmar
Australia will increase its support for reform and engagement with Myanmar, in recognition of the country’s progress towards democracy.
The Gillard Government today made several significant announcements in support of Myanmar and its people:As part of a growing aid program, Australia will provide an additional $20 million over two years for the first phase of the new Myanmar-Australia Partnership for Reform.
Australia will lift some restrictions on defence engagement and will post a resident Defence Attaché to Myanmar.
Australia will facilitate increased trade and investment links with Myanmar, and will shortly post a resident Trade Commissioner to Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial centre.
Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar (Opening Remarks), Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana
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