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UN And Burma Strike Deal Possible Refugee Returns - 2004-03-15


The United Nations refugee agency has reached an agreement with Burma to create conditions needed for the return of refugees from neighboring Thailand.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva Friday that as many as 130-thousand people are waiting in Thai refugee camps to return to Burma. An estimated 600-thousand others are displaced within Burma.

Mr. Redmond said the situation along the Burma - Thailand border does not yet permit the return of refugees, pending what he called an "acceptable settlement" emerging from ongoing talks between the government and rebels.

Under the agreement announced last week, the agency will start providing refugees assistance in health, education and community services, as well as local infrastructure.

Information for this report is provided by UN Press Release.

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