UNSG Ban in Burma: junta ‘to allow foreign aid workers’

Original post:
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has arrived in Burma and has toured the devastated Irrawaddy Delta in a helicopter. He will meet Senior General Than Shwe, the leader of the military junta.

The former Australian Foreign Minister under ex-PM John Howard, Mr Alexander Downer, has just been on the BBC World Service. He described a prior meeting of his with Sen. Gen. Than as “polite” but warned that Mr Ban will get a “polite but cold” reaction from the junta.

Still, the recent agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian nations is a good step forward in terms of the relief effort. More can still be done, but it’s a first step.

Let’s see what Mr Ban accomplishes.

(Side note: foreign journalists, normally banned from Burma, have been let in if they are part of the UN’s press corps. Will be interesting to see how the junta handles them.)

Update (0705 UTC May 23): The BBC is reporting that following talks between Mr Ban and Gen Than Shwe in the junta capital Nay Pyi Taw, Burma will allow in all foreign aid workers now. Whether there will still be restrictions on them is yet to be seen.


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