PICTURED ABOVE: Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird.
Canada will open an embassy in Myanmar, following in the footsteps of the United States, while pressing for more reforms in the isolated Southeast Asian nation, Foreign Minister John Baird said on Friday.
Canada announced in April that in recognition of recent democratic reforms in Myanmar it would suspend most of the trade and diplomatic sanctions it had imposed on the country, which is also known as Burma. Ottawa hopes Canadian companies can do business in Myanmar, which has rich natural resources.
“Although the Burmese government has taken positive steps to improve human rights and democracy over the past year, we continue to urge more progress on reform,” Baird said after a meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Baird — speaking to reporters on a conference call — said he was seeking more information about the arrest in Myanmar of 10 staff members from the United Nations and international NGOs, which the U.N. revealed earlier on Friday.
The first U.S. ambassador to Myanmar in decades presented his credentials on Tuesday.
Baird did not specify when the embassy would open. In a separate statement, he said Ottawa would work with the Myanmar government “in the coming weeks and months” on the matter.