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UN Denounces Lack of Humanitarian Access to Myanmar's Rakhine State

UN Denounces Lack of Humanitarian Access to Myanmar's Rakhine State

Observers believe that as many as 100,000 more people may be waiting to cross to the southeast Bangladeshi port of Cox's Bazar from Myanmar's Rakhine state, the International Organisation for Migration said, citing staff members monitoring the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

Myanmarese authorities, led by de facto leader and Noble peace prize victor Aug San Suu Kyi, have been tightly controlling access to the state since last month when purported attacks by Rohingya militants prompted a brutal military response that has forced over 515,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

Over-burdened with over half a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar seeking shelter in Bangladesh, the country's Foreign Secretary, Shahidul Haque on Friday said that the immigration of the minority Muslims from the Buddhist-dominated country can not end the on-going crisis.

Myanmar has come under worldwide criticism for barring aid groups, journalists and other outsiders from independently traveling to the region to see the situation there.

"I think the way India is now approaching on the Rohingya issue, we are extremely happy", Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque said.

The violence, backed by radical Buddhist monks, has left scores of Rohingya villages torched and completely destroyed.

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"The talks were held in a friendly atmosphere and Myanmar has made a proposal to take back the Rohingya refugees", the minister told reporters.

This would be done according to criteria agreed in 1993, when tens of thousands of Rohingya were repatriated, she said.

Mark Lowcock, head of the UN's humanitarian office, said: "This flow out of Myanmar has not stopped yet, it's into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya (who are) still in Myanmar, we want to be ready in case there is a further exodus".

He added that issues between the two countries should be solved "bilaterally, in an amicable manner, taking into consideration of the national interests of both nations". "The violence must stop", it said, calling for unimpeded humanitarian and media access.

Myanmar has repeatedly denied claims it is working deliberately to wipe out the Rohingya, saying they are carrying out counter attacks against "brutal acts of terrorism". It considers the Muslims as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The existing population of Rohingyas in Bangladesh had led to tensions with the local populations.