Thursday, May 22, 2008

Myanmar Cyclone Nargis: UN's Ban says will meet Myanmar junta leader in effort to boost aid

source: AfP via MSN Malaysia News
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he would meet Myanmar's junta leader Senior General Than Shwe during a visit starting Thursday to convince the generals to accept a wider cyclone relief effort.

"After going to the affected areas, I will meet with senior government officials, including Senior General Than Shwe," Ban told reporters shortly after landing Wednesday in neighbouring Thailand.

Ban, who could not get through to the reclusive junta leader in the aftermath of the May 2-3 storm which has left at least 133,000 people dead or missing, also said he wanted a relief logistics base set up inside Myanmar.

He was to spend the night in the Thai capital Bangkok before heading to Myanmar, one of the most poorest and most isolated countries in the world, on Thursday.

There has been an international uproar over the limits on the aid operation imposed by the isolated junta, which is deeply suspicious of the outside world.

Ban also echoed warnings about the upcoming planting season for Myanmar's next rice harvest, with aid groups warning that hunger and disease are stalking around two million desperate survivors of Cyclone Nargis.

"It may be too late for farmers to plant for the next harvest," the secretary general said.

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