Australian FM to visit Myanmar, Laos this week

Australian FM to visit Myanmar, Laos this week

SYDNEY, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will make her first official visit to Myanmar and Laos this week.

Support for education, economic development and empowerment of women will be key priorities during her visit, Bishop said in a statement.

In Myanmar, Bishop will meet President U Thein Sein and other members of the Myanmar government, as well as Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the National League for Democracy, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

"Australia is playing an important role in supporting Burma's ( Myanmar's) economic development and reform, particularly in promoting greater education opportunities to help achieve peace and stability," she said.

"During the visit, I will reaffirm Australia's support for the reform process and for the Myanmar Government's chairmanship of ASEAN this year."

"I will meet with Australian business representatives to discuss what the Australian and Myanmar Governments can do to enhance trade and investment links."

The minister will also address the importance Australia places on finding a peaceful resolution to ethnic and sectarian unrest, according to the statement.

When visiting Laos, Bishop said she would discuss regional issues ahead of Laos' chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016 and exchange ideas with women in leadership roles, in business and politics, about advancing women's economic empowerment in Laos.

"Australia is committed to playing a key supporting role in the economic development of Laos, particularly through support for the education sector, trade reform and rural development," she said.