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UN Official to Discuss Refugees with Burmese Government


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, is scheduled to hold talks in Rangoon with Burma's military leaders about the flow of refugees from the country.

Guterres told reporters in Thailand Saturday that he was departing for Burma to discuss the plight of Rohingya refugees.

The Rohingya have been highlighted in recent months as thousands of members of the Muslim minority group have fled Burma to Bangladesh and then on to other Southeast Asian countries by boat.

A U.N. World Food Program spokesman said last month poverty and food shortages are key reasons for their migration.

The Rohingya live mostly in Burma's northern Rakhine State and they have largely been denied citizenship.

Hundreds of Rohingya have landed along the shores of Thailand and Indonesia. Security forces have been accused of forcing boats loaded with refugees back out into open waters.

At a summit of ASEAN ministers last month, the 10-member bloc agreed on a proposal to repatriate Rohingya boat people from Burma.

Burma has denied that the Rohingyas came from their country.


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