YANGON (Reuters) – The United Nations is preparing to send teams of experts into Myanmar’s Rakhine state to begin work aimed at eventually repatriating Rohingya Muslims who fled violence last year, the regional head of the U.N. development agency said on Thursday.
The U.N. agencies for development and refugees struck an outline deal with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s government at the end of May to allow Rohingya Muslims sheltering in Bangladesh to return safely and by choice.
Haoliang - Xu - United - Nations - Development
Haoliang Xu, the United Nations Development Programme’s director for the Asia-Pacific region, said U.N. officials were last week allowed to travel freely around northern Rakhine for the first time since August 2017.
But an initial work plan still needed to be devised with the government before proper assessment could begin, Xu told Reuters in an interview in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.
Sense - Urgency - Parallel - Teams
“You can say we are working with an extreme sense of urgency,” he said. “We’re also preparing in parallel to send in teams.”
Those teams would assess the needs of an estimated more than 200,000 Rohingya and other communities who remain in northern Rakhine, he said.
Myanmar - Government - Spokesman - Zaw - Htay
Myanmar’s main government spokesman Zaw Htay was not available...
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