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Burma: International Assistance

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will provide the (a) details and (b) conditions of the economic recovery package for Burma that the Prime Minister has proposed to other G7 leaders. (159863)

[holding answer 22 October 2007]: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote on 16 October to the UN Secretary-General, G8 and other interested colleagues proposing a meeting on Burma in the margins of the Annual Meetings of the International Financial Institutions in Washington. He proposed discussion on how an economic recovery package might be put together for Burma if sufficient concrete and verifiable steps were to be made along the path to reconciliation and reform.

The meeting took place on 20 October chaired by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, and attended by Ministers and senior representatives from Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Participants held a preliminary discussion about the role that development assistance could play in the economic assistance of Burma once verifiable steps are made, and how the international community could support change. In the short to medium term this could include establishment of a multi-donor trust fund, an investment conference, support for a process of debt relief and financial and technical support for elections. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development stressed however that any package would be conditional on national reconciliation and would have to complement the efforts to that end of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Professor Gambari.