Myanmar ready to accept intl assistance

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Bangkok, May 12: Myanmar's military regime has informed the Thai government that it is now ready to accept international assistance for the victims of Cyclone Nargis and is considering visa requests for foreign aid workers, a Thai government spokesman said here today.

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was informed by his Myanmar counterpart General Thein Sein that the first United States military aircraft carrying assistance for victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar would be allowed to land this afternoon in Yangon, Thai government spokesman Vichienchote Sukchoterat said.

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Myanmar's military government also said it would welcome the senior US officials who travelled on the US army relief plane to Yangon today. The port in the former Myanmar capital Yangon has also been partially opened and foreign ships carrying relief supplies have been allowed to berth there, the Thai government spokesman said.

The Junta is also considering allowing aid shipments by road across the Thai-Myanmar border, he added. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke this morning with Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej seeking Bangkok's intervention to facilitate Myanmar visas for foreign aid workers, the spokesman disclosed.

The Myanmar government has said it would consider visa applications on a ''case-by case basis''. About two million people are estimated affected by Asia's worst natural disaster since the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

UN agencies estimate up to 100,000 people could have been killed by the cyclone that struck Myanmar on May 3.


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