05/21/2008, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Burmese junta: international plots "worse than the cyclone"

This is the warning issued by the regime's press outlet, while in the villages of the Irrawaddy delta corpses continue to float in the rivers, and the military leaders explain to the survivors that they will have to take care of reconstruction "on their own". Possible meeting of Ban Ki-moon with Than Shwe.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - For the Burmese junta, the "storm of plots and intrigues" facing the country is "much worse than the cyclone Nargis".  The statements appear today in the state newspaper New Light of Myanmar, in an article that reiterates the denial of aid carried by the U.S. Navy.  The warning expressed in the regime's newspaper refers to the accusations brought by the international community that the government is not responding adequately to the needs of the population.  According to the newspaper, this is only a matter of "rumour storms created by certain Western countries and national traitors".

But the newspaper of the regime does express thanks for the aid sent by air from Washington, and assures that it is conducting "with a certain degree of success" the aid and reconstruction operations. 

But witnesses from the devastated areas, like Laputta, speak of a "worsening" situation, above all in the villages farthest from the cities.  "Occasionally",  say some humanitarian workers in a document from the National League for Democracy, "the regional relief supervisor comes to the refugee camps  to show how aid efforts are proceeding.  In reality, no one has yet reached the rural areas hardest hit by the cyclone.  The military authorities tell the survivors that government aid is only temporary, and that they will have to rebuild what they have lost on their own, clearing the streets and resuming their activities".  "In these villages", continues the testimony, "the inhabitants have not cremated the corpses of the victims, which are still floating in the waters of the rivers and streams". The official told of those dead and missing following the cyclone is 133,000. 

Meanwhile,  the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, left for Myanmar today.  His objective is to convince the military government to let in more foreign aid.  According to UN envoy John Holmes, Ban will meet with the leader of the junta, Than Shwe, on Friday, probably in Naypyidaw, the new capital.

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