Address to United Nations Secretary-General Special Partnership Group on Myanmar
Thank you, Secretary-General, for convening this meeting, and I congratulate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on your early achievements in government.
In fact, Frederica (Mogherini) has just triggered a memory. I recall my first visit to Myanmar over 20 years ago, in 1995, when I first met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and she was under house arrest or house detention at that time, and I didn't think then that there was any hope that the people of Myanmar would achieve the peace and democracy and freedom that they yearned. Certainly I didn't think it was possible in the foreseeable future.
Yet today we are celebrating the fact that Myanmar has made significant gains in democratisation and on human rights, including the release of political prisoners, repealing or revising laws that were previously used to stifle dissent, and ratifying human rights treaties.
Australia particularly welcomes the Government of Myanmar's efforts to take forward the peace process under the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
Myanmar can be assured of Australia's ongoing support, including through the Joint Peace Fund which includes annual contributions from Australia.
Australia welcomes the Myanmar Government's announcement of the establishment of an advisory Commission on Rakhine State as part of a broader effort to address complex development and humanitarian challenges.
Given the achievements to date and the constructive engagement of the new Myanmar Government, may I say that we believe it is timely and appropriate to adjust existing UN oversight mechanisms and special procedures as they relate to Myanmar.
In this context, Australia supports the proposal to disband the Partnership Group. It should be seen as a concrete manifestation of the progress that has been made.
While challenges most certainly remain, we believe that working in collaboration with Myanmar is the best way forward.