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Australia Keeps Military Ties With Myanmar Despite UK And U.S. Withdrawal

Australia's relations with Myanmar will continue despite ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims.

25/10/2017 6:00 PM AEDT | Updated 25/10/2017 6:05 PM AEDT

The United Kingdom and the United States have suspended military co-operation with Myanmar over ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims but Australia has no plans for a ban.

An estimated 582,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine state since late August, escaping what the United Nations says is a "textbook case of ethnic cleansing".

Under questioning from Labor senator Louise Pratt, Defence officials told a Senate estimates hearing Australia had allocated $398,000 for military assistance to Myanmar.

Key areas included training in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping and English classes.

Small numbers of Burmese military officers have travelled to Canberra for training courses.

Department official Scott Dewar said the federal government's policy was to retain defence co-operation with Myanmar because it was helping to build capacity and professionalism

"The government is deeply concerned by the violence," he said, adding Defence would continue to monitor the situation in consultation with the foreign affairs department.

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