France pledges $225 million for Burma

France pledges $225 million for Burma

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday pledged his country’s support for Burma’s development by announcing plans to raise 200 million euros (US$224.92 million) in funds for the formerly military-ruled nation.

Ayrault made the announcement following a meeting with State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in the capital of Naypyidaw during a joint press conference with the Burmese leader.

“We have plans to quickly raise support funds of 200 million euros from France to Myanmar [Burma], starting from now on,” said Ayrault.

It’s the first official visit made by a French government official since Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a landslide victory in last year’s historic elections.

Ayrault also praised the country’s ongoing efforts to bring about national reconciliation and pledged France’s support for the new government.

“We respect Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar government’s decisions related to this. We respect the process here, we recognise France’s engagement, the important support of the government, and that a transition takes time and a lot of patience,” he told reporters at the news conference on Friday.

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“I believe that patience will determine your actions, Madame [Suu Kyi]. We have all the faith that you will succeed in the process of the difficult reconciliation, that takes time. We are ready to help if minister [Suu Kyi] and the government ask for it, but we respect that you are doing it with a lot of courage,” the French top diplomat added.

Suu Kyi also expressed gratitude for France’s support for Burma and her government.

“I’m glad to say thank you very much to France for their support to us. Your support is not only in the cultural sector but also in the development, political and economical sectors as well,” she said.

Ayrault is in Burma until 19 June.

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