Hillary offers USD 1.2mn to Myanmar civil society

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered USD 1.2 million in new aid aimed at civil society in Myanmar in a bid to bolster reforms.

Yangon: US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton on Friday offered USD 1.2 million in new aid aimed at
civil society in Myanmar in a bid to bolster reforms on a
landmark visit to the long-isolated nation.

In a news conference at the end of her visit, Hillary
said that the funding would support microfinance, healthcare
and help for the victims of landmines in the war-torn country
formerly known as Burma.

"We will take a number of steps to demonstrate our
commitment to the people of this country," said Hillary, who
earlier in the day met civil society groups who have an
uncertain role in a country long dominated by the military.
"We are prepared to go further if reforms maintain
momentum," Hillary said.

Hillary said that the United States would support
civil society actors who cater to "critical needs throughout
the country, particularly in the ethnic minority areas".

A senior US official who accompanied Hillary said the
new funding for the initiative would be USD 1 million. Another
USD 200,000 will go to supporting landmine survivors and other
victims of internal conflict, with a goal of raising that
funding to USD 800,000, the official said.

Hillary also announced that the United States will
launch a "substantial" English-language teaching initiative in
Myanmar supported by the Hawaii-based East-West Center.

The senior official, who requested anonymity, expected
millions of dollars for the language initiative and said the
money would come from Brunei, which like many Southeast Asian
nations has welcomed US engagement with Myanmar.


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