Saturday, May 24, 2008

Myanmar Finally Agrees to Allow Foreign Aid Workers Enter Affected Areas, But No Foreign Governments

After much consternation by Myanmar officials, it appears that charitable aid by the world's non-governmental humanitarian organizations will soon be on its way without hindrance to the victims of the May 2, 2008, cyclone.  According to an article in the May 24, 2008, issue of the Washington Post, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reports that Myanmar (also known as Burma) agreed through one of its leaders to "allow all foreign aid workers, regardless of nationality, to join relief efforts for survivors."  However, aid from foreign governments is still prohibited.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

The concession, a potential turning point in getting help to victims of the devastating May 2-3 storm, came during a two-hour meeting between Ban and Than Shwe, head of the ruling military junta, in the isolated Burmese capital, Naypyidaw.

"He has agreed to allow all the aid workers, regardless of nationality," Ban told reporters after the meeting. There was no immediate confirmation from Burmese authorities concerning the pledge.

The U.N. chief said the junta expressed willingness to let foreign civilian ships bring in aid.

But according to U.N. officials, the generals stood firm on their refusal to accept delivery from military vessels -- the United States, Britain and Frances have naval ships in the region. That remains "a very sensitive issue," a senior U.N. official said.

For the entire article, see "Burma to Admit 'All Aid Workers': Storm Relief From Foreign Navies Is Still Barred, U.N. Officials Say" in the May 24, 2008, issue of the Washington Post.

DAB

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