Myanmar welcomes U.N. envoy to Naypyitaw

Jan. 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM
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NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The government of Myanmar said its vice president met Tuesday in the capital with a U.N. envoy to discuss the humanitarian situation in Rakhine state.

Myanmar Vice President Sai Mauk Kham met with visiting U.N. special envoy to Myanmar Vijay Nambiar, who is on his fifth visit to the country since early 2011.

Both sides, reports China's official Xinhua news agency, discussed long-term assistance from the United Nations in conflict-prone areas, including Rakhine state.

Last year, fighting between Buddhist and Muslim communities in the coastal state of Rakhine left at least 78 people dead.

A report from Arab broadcaster al-Jazeera this week describes the situation at refugee camps in Rakhine as "harsh," adding some communities are running low on water. Xinhua, however, described the report as "fabricated."

Myanmar has earned praise for a series of democratic reforms that began with general elections in 2010. Ethnic fighting in the country has raised renewed concerns about the country's stability and reform initiatives, however.

Beijing has expressed concern over fighting between Kachin rebels and Myanmar forces. For her part, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters during her regular press briefing that Washington was "troubled" by increased violence in Kachin state.

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