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Myanmar to allow UN aid deliveries to Kachin state

Associated Press
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Associated Press

Catholics hold candles outside a church before they parade on the main roads in Laiza, chanting prayers for peace, in northern Myanmar's Kachin-controlled region, on Saturday.

 YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar will allow the United Nations into strife-torn Kachin state to deliver humanitarian aid for the first time since a recent escalation of fighting between ethnic rebels and government troops, officials said Wednesday.

 The announcement came after the government and rebels agreed Monday to work toward ending a bloody conflict that has forced thousands of civilians to flee the area in northern Myanmar.

 Presidential spokesman Ye Htut confirmed that agencies providing humanitarian assistance will be allowed access to Kachin state.

 “Who will be in the group, how it will be done or who will take charge of security will be discussed,” he said in response to an emailed query.

 A U.N. spokesman, Aye Win, said it was “significant” that aid could be delivered for the first time since fighting escalated in December.

 The U.N.’s last aid mission to Kachin state was in July.

 The conflict in Kachin state has cast a shadow on Myanmar’s progress in implementing democratic reforms after a half-century of repressive military rule.

Myanmar is commonly known as Burma.

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