New Australian Embassy officially opens in Yangon


Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Sen. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells appear at the opening ceremony for the new Australian Embassy at Vantage Tower in Yangon on June 13. Credit: Australian Embassy in Myanmar Facebook page

The Australian Embassy announced in an opening ceremony Wednesday that it has officially relocated from its former location on 88 Strand Road to take up four floors of the recently constructed 18-storey Vantage Tower at 623 Pyay Road overlooking the western edge of Inya Lake.

The event took place on Level 12 of Vantage Tower and was presided over by Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Sen. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. 

This is Fierravanti-Wells' second visit to the country since March 2017, when she also visited Cambodia as part of a trip aimed at developing bilateral relationships.

According to the embassy, the move to Levels 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Vantage Tower was connected to the need for a larger space to accommodate more staff. Other reasons include high-tech building management and security systems that make the building “one of the safest in Myanmar”, according to Hugo Slade, managing director of Slade Property Services.

A June 11 press release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade two days ahead of the embassy opening said that Sen. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells would be traveling to Sittwe to meet with Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu and UN agency representatives.

“While in Sittwe, I will visit the Thet Kae Pyin camp for Internally Displaced Persons to see first-hand the situation on the ground, and how Australia's assistance is providing essential protection outcomes for women and children in central Rakhine,” the statement from the senator reads.

However, the Australian Embassy said on June 12 that the Rakhine State portion of the trip had been canceled at the last minute due to bad weather.

Amid the first tropical storms of the 2018 monsoon season, some residents of Thet Kae Pyin camp are concerned about lack of preparedness following the destruction wreaked in the area by Cyclone Mora in 2017, according to Frontier Myanmar.

It was not immediately clear on Wednesday whether the senator had been able to meet with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw as had been planned for, according to the June 11 press release.

Australia has maintained diplomatic representation in Myanmar since 1952.

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