Thai PM to persuade Myanmar to accept US aid

May 9th, 2008 - 3:59 pm ICT by admin  

Bangkok, May 9 (Xinhua) Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej will fly to Myanmar Sunday in a bid to persuade its leaders to accept relief supplies from the US after a tropical cyclone wreaked havoc in the country, media reports said Friday. Samak said he would meet the Myanmar leaders to persuade them to accept aid from the US, according to a report on the Bangkok Post website.

“I have already contacted them,” the report quoted Samak as saying Friday.

Samak’s move followed a meeting with the US envoy to Thailand Eric John Thursday during which the ambassador asked for help from the Thai government to persuade Myanmar leaders to facilitate the US aid delivery to that country in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.

John told a press conference in Bangkok Thursday that the American military C-130 aircraft assigned to deliver the first instalment of President George W. Bush’s earlier proffered assistance was now not permitted to fly to Yangon.

The former Myanmar capital is one of the hardest hit areas, as the cyclone wrecked the country last Saturday and claimed at least 22,980 lives and left another 49,119 missing.

The US ambassador said he got “assurance” from the Thai premier that the Thai government would continue its efforts to facilitate the aid delivery and help the US aid team get visas to Myanmar.

According to the US embassy, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has granted $3.25 million in initial relief supply to Myanmar.

The USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), which is in Bangkok awaiting permission to enter Myanmar, will allocate this assistance.

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