Burma Relents on Foreign Docs, Aid Workers

But only from ASEAN member nations
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2008 7:21 AM CDT
Burma Relents on Foreign Docs, Aid Workers
A young cyclone survivor peeks out from inside a temporary shelter on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on Saturday May 17, 2008.    (AP Photo)

Two and a half weeks after cyclone Nargis hit, Burma finally agreed today to allow foreign medics and disaster experts into the battered country, reports the BBC—but only from ASEAN member nations. UN chief Ban Ki-Moon also plans to jet to Burma on Wednesday to bring additional pressure to bear to speed relief to save thousands of children from starving to death.

ASEAN, the organization of Southeast Asian nations, announced the agreement after a meeting in Singapore today, and pledged to coordinate the international relief effort. Britain's Asia minister, meanwhile, said negotiations may be turning a corner to accelerate international aid to some 2.5 million survivors of the cyclone that killed at least 134,000 people. "But, like all turning points in Burma, the corner will have a few 'S' bends in it," he said. (More Myanmar stories.)

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