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Myanmar president to visit 5 European countries

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-02-22 16:10

YANGON - Myanmar President U Thein Sein will soon pay official visits to five European countries - Norway, Finland, Austria, Belgium and Italy, according to an official announcement Friday.

Thein Sein's tour to Europe will signify his first foreign trips in 2013.

Relations between Myanmar and Norway improved in 2012 following Norway's easing of sanctions on Myanmar. The improved bilateral relations brought about a visit to the Southeast Asian nation by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in November 2012.

A Norwegian Embassy was opened in Yangon on the occasion of Stoltenberg's visit.

Meanwhile, Myanmar could reduce international debt of over $6 billion including the relief of 534 million dollars' debt Myanmar owed to Norway after coordinating with creditor countries of Paris Club in January.

In January this year, Finnish Minister of International Development Ms. Heidi Hauta visited Nay Phi Taw, claiming with U Thein Sein that it is a high time for mutual cooperation in promoting diplomatic ties and further strengthening friendship between the two countries,

The pair touched upon capacity building for Myanmar and its nationalities development, Finland's assistance in total lifting economic sanctions for economic development of Myanmar and regaining of  its Generalized  System of Preference (GSP).

Finland's embassy to Myanmar is based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Early this month, during his visit to Myanmar, Dr Christoph Leitl, President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, exchanged views with U Thein Sein on establishing fair and genuine partnership for long-term interest of both sides, mutual trust, qualified vocational training courses, EU's grant of GSP rights to Myanmar and cooperation in energy and environmental conservation, food security, education, health, banking services, finance and technology.

Meanwhile, Myanmar and Italy are stepping up cooperation in capacity building for cultural heritage preservation of Myanmar and the program is being done with Italy's assistance under the supervision of the UNESCO.

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