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US Urges Bangladesh to Solve Burmese Refugee Problem

The United States is calling on Bangladesh to help improve the living conditions of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Burma.

Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugee and Migration Affairs, Ellen Sauerbrey made the appeal during talks in Dhaka Wednesday with Bangladesh's Food and Disaster Management Minister, Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf.

Mr. Yusuf is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying he would like the United States and the United Nations to try to relocate the refugees to a third country. He said Bangladesh is not in a position to accommodate the refugees for an indefinite period of time.

More than 250,000 Burmese minority Rohingyas fled across the border to Bangladesh in the early 1990s. Dhaka has repatriated all but 21,000, who live in two camps in squalid conditions.

Bangladesh has refused to grant the Rohingyas refugee status, saying they are illegal immigrants and must return to Burma.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.