Norway helps developments in Burma as political issues unresolved
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Norway helps developments in Burma as political issues unresolved

President of Myanmar/Burma U Thein Sein received Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Trond Giske and party of Norway at the Credentials Hall of the Presidential Palace in Nay-Pyi-Taw Thursday, The New Light of Myanmar said today.

Their discussions focused on political, economic, social reform process of Burma/Myanmar, environmental conservation, establishment of labor-intensive factories and workshops, mutual cooperation in Information

Technology and communication sectors by establishing factories and workshops, investment and establishment of SME factories, the state-run media said. In addition, there will be workshops to manufacture value-added products based on natural products and cooperation of Norwegian companies in generating hydropower.

The Industry Minister Giske says that he emphasized to talk about what Norwegian companies will be able to contribute to Myanmar’s development. He also addressed the importance of clear conditions and transparency around the business. The President expressed strong determination to go ahead with the democratization process, said Giske.

Also present at the call were Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, Minister at the President Office Soe Thane, Industry Minister Aye Myint, National Planning and Economic Development Minister Dr Kan Zaw and officials. The Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister and party were accompanied by Norwegian Ambassador to Burma/Myanmar Ms. Katja Nordgaard and embassy staff.

Besides, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Trond Giske and party also paid a visit to Parliament Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann at Zabuthiri Hall of the Parliament Complex in Nay-Pyi-Taw at 2 pm Thursday. During the meeting, they discussed especially on bilateral trade and investment, technical assistance, and cooperation in legislation.

According to Norway Today, Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske is very happy after the visit to Myanmar/Burma that ended with conversations with both the president and the country’s opposition leader. Giske told NTB (Norwegian News Agency) that representatives of Statoil and Telenor were with him when he met the opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.It was useful both for the companies and for her, Giske said.

He points to the fact that Telenor wanted to make clear the conditions, rules and transparency that must be the basis for the company to enter into a multi-billion dollar investment. Myanmar parliament is to adopt a law on telecommunications before the summer.

Minister Trond Giske said that Aung San Suu Kyi has pointed out the importance of the democratic countries’ demands for democratic change in Myanmar/Burma. Democratization is far from the goal, and continued outside pressure is needed, According to Norway Today.

Norway-Myanmar Relations has improved since November 2012 as Norway has reduced sanctions on Burma/Myanmar. Then, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg paid a visit to the Southeast Asian nation by in November 2012 to recover bilateral relations which damaged for decades.

President Thein Sein paid tribute to the Norwegian position in peace process in his country where the government armed forces have launched war against the ethnic rebels in the areas where minorities live.

Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg said that Thein Sein’s choice of Norway as the first European country to visit indicates a lot in itself. Stoltenberg and Thein Sein also articulated their interest in promoting telecommunication cooperation in Myanmar.

President-meets-Norwegian-PM-on-26-Feb-2013-in-Oslo.-621x415

President U Thein Sein meets Norwegian Prime Minister Mr Jens Stoltenberg at the government guest house in Oslo in Norway on 26 Februar 2013.(Photo: http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en)

Norway, which has lifted sanctions against Myanmar, now turns to seek opportunities for forging a strong economic relation with the Southeast Asian country.

President U Thein Sein met Norwegian Prime Minister Mr Jens Stoltenberg at the government guest house in Oslo in Norway on 26 February 2013.  Also present at that meeting were Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) General Soe Win, Union Ministers Wunna Maung Lwin and Soe Thane, deputy ministers and departmental heads, according to the state-run media.

President said that it was his first-visit to Europe, thanking the Norwegian people and government for supporting democratic change in his nation. He also said that the Norwegian PM’s visit in the previous year was a historic visit in the mutual ties although it was a short stay.

He also acknowledged that Norway played a key role in discussions with Paris Club members for lifting sanctions and resumption of low interest loans by the World Bank and other international monetary institutions.

He said Norway’s clearance of Myanmar debt had impacts on other debt clearing. He also proposed cooperation for political reforms, peace building, economic reforms and environmental conservation.

Thein Sein also told Jens Stoltenberg in November 2012 that his government has already made foreign investment law, monetary policy, trade policy and investment policy at the level of international standards. Burma will likely export natural resources to Norway as value-added products, so as to do good to both countries, he said. He called attention to the employment of his citizens as a critical necessity. Thein Sein said he hoped that coming out of the industrial plants and workshops could present many job opportunities.

Although Burma has been pushing ahead with its economic reform, there are many more to do for political changes including constitutional amendments and political dialogue with ethnic leaders from various national races demanding self-determination.