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Burma Criticized For Closing Red Cross Offices


A U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the move a negative step, and said it highlights the need for the UN Security Council to pass a resolution against Burma.

A British foreign ministry official Ian McCartney said the action illustrates the Burmese government's complete disregard for international human rights standards.

Earlier Tuesday, Singapore's government also expressed regret about Burma's decision, saying it does not bode well for Burma's relations with the international community.

The International Committee of the Red Cross I.C.R.C. said Monday that Burma's military rulers have ordered the organization to stop its humanitarian work in five border areas of the country Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Hpa-an, Taunggyi and Kyaing Tong.

The aid group says the closures have made it effectively impossible to provide assistance and protection to Burmese civilians living in areas where ethnic minorities are often in conflict with the government.

The Red Cross has urged Burma's government to address urgent humanitarian issues. The last meeting between the agency and Burmese officials took place in Geneva earlier this month.

Information for this report is provided by AP, fco.gov.uk and State Department

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