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Burmese Government Expelling UN Development Official


Burma's military government is expelling a United Nations official who warned about deepening poverty in the country.

A spokesman for the UN Development Program in Rangoon - U Aye Win confirmed that the agency's Burma coordinator, Charles Petrie, has been told to leave.

The move comes ahead of a visit to Burma by UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is scheduled to arrive on Saturday in another bid to foster national reconciliation.

It will be his second visit there since the military government cracked down on pro-democracy protests led by Buddhist monks in September.

Hundreds of people were imprisoned during the violent crackdown. Burma's military government released 46 of them Friday -- mostly members of the opposition National League for Democracy. At the same time, the government cut Internet access across the country.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has made a formal request to the Burmese government for access to those detained in connection with the recent protests.

The Red Cross released a statement Thursday noting that the Burmese military government claims to have released hundreds of detainees in recent weeks. But the group says dozens of families have approached the Red Cross recently, seeking contact with missing relatives.

More than 100 Buddhist monks marched this week in central Burma in the first protests since the September crackdown.

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