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EU Urges Burma to Allow Red Cross to Resume Activities


The European Union is urging Burma's military government to reconsider its decision to close five field offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The EU Presidency, currently held by Finland, issued a statement late Tuesday saying it is very concerned about the impact the closures will have on the humanitarian situation in Burma.

Burma's military rulers last week ordered the humanitarian organization to stop its work in five border areas (Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Hpa-an, Taunggyi and Kyaing Tong).

After an international outcry, the military government described the closure order as "temporary" but it did not say when the Red Cross offices may reopen.

Burma's opposition National League for Democracy, the party of detained democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, also issued a statement Tuesday urging the military government to allow the field offices to reopen.

The ICRC 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.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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