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New Zealand parliamentarians to forge links with new Myanmar lawmakers

Speaker of the House Rt Hon David Carter.

New Zealand Parliamentary leaders, due to make a three-nation Asia tour from next week, will be looking to strengthen links with Myanmar's legislators, head of the delegation and Parliament Speaker David Carter said in a statement Thursday.

The delegation, seeking to gain a better understanding of the on-going democratic reforms in Myanmar, would travel to the capital Nay Pyi Taw for a series of parliamentary calls, including meetings with the speakers of both the Lower and Upper Houses.

The delegation will also meet with President U Thein Sein, who has been leading Myanmar's reform process, ministers, and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Carter said.

Before heading to Myanmar, the delegation would visit Thailand to meet with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and legislative leaders and establish a New Zealand-Thailand Parliamentary Friendship Group to promote cooperation.

The delegation's last stop is Japan, where they would focus on issues of trade, agricultural reform and disaster recovery.

"Our visit comes at a time when New Zealand is increasingly looking toward Asia in terms of trade relationships and cooperation on regional and global issues," said Carter.

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