The Burmese president has cancelled a visit to Australia due to commence next week citing domestic commitments – while activists continue to report human rights concerns in the country.
The United Nations humanitarian chief on Wednesday described conditions for displaced Burmese Muslim Rohingyas minority as "dire" and called for the government to make improvements.
Thein Sein, the former military general turned civilian president and hailed for gradually steering Burma towards democracy, had been expected to arrive in Canberra on Monday.
He was due to go to Sydney on Tuesday where local human rights activists had planned a protest.
But a spokesman for Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government was was advised late yesterday Thein Sein "would be postponing his visit to Australia owing to domestic commitments".
The spokesman said the government was very much looking forward to welcoming the president to Australia in 2013 at a mutually convenient time.
Australia has lifted economic and travel sanctions on Burma and officially recognised Myanmar - the name adopted by the previous military junta - for the country.