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Australia backs Myanmar peace support initiative

June 8, 2012

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr meets with U Wunna Maung Lwin, Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Foreign Ministry in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, on June 7, 2012. (Photograph: Christopher Davy)

Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday announced that Australia will provide $5 million as an initial contribution to promote peace in Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions.

Senator Carr said recent ceasefire agreements in many parts of the country mean peace is within the grasp of the people of Myanmar for the first time in many decades.

“This is the right moment to provide aid through the Peace Support Initiative that will help conflict-torn communities to recover and build confidence in the peace process,” Senator Carr said.

Australia will work with Norway and other international donors to create the necessary environment for the settlement of internally displaced people.

The package of support will be developed with affected communities and is likely to include health and education services, demining activities and small cash grants to kick-start small businesses.

“With concrete improvements in their lives, people will have greater incentive to make enduring peace,” Senator Carr said.

“This first phase initiative will be a foundation for longer term support to communities that will permanently improve people’s lives in conflict affected areas.

“While Australia strongly supports rapid assistance for peace-building efforts, we will also continue to work with international partners to expand the delivery of our substantial aid program to conflict-affected areas in Myanmar.

“Australia is the second largest bilateral aid donor to Myanmar.

“As the peace process allows better access to conflict affected regions, AusAID will work with the Government of Myanmar and other donors to provide additional and continuing support,” Senator Carr said.

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