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UN strives for reinforcing Myanmar cyclone relief efforts
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived at Yangon Thursday morning to reinforce Myanmar's post-storm relief efforts after some parts of the country were devastated by cyclone Nargis early this month.

Ban, who was greeted at the Yangon International Airport by Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win, proceeded first to the Myanmar Foreign Ministry and signed book of condolence for thousands of Myanmar victims killed in the cyclone.

After visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda, Ban will meet Myanmar Prime Minister General Thein Sein and Minister of National Planning and Economic and Development U Soe Tha, and will then be taken to cyclone-hard-hit areas in southwestern Ayeyawaddy division's delta region and Yangon division under government arrangement, according to official sources.

During his two-day visit, Ban is also expected to meet Myanmar top leadership in Nay Pyi Taw Friday and discuss channels for scaling up quick relief efforts and prompt distribution of the aid supplies especially to reinforce partnership between Myanmar and the international community, including ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and key neighboring countries.

Bringing his sympathy to and support for the Myanmar government and people and claiming that it is a critical moment for Myanmar, Ban said before his departure for Myanmar that he will do his utmost to save the lives of Myanmar people and source more "non- politicized" assistance.

He stressed his and UN role "to work closely with ASEAN and the Myanmar government to ensure that all these efforts are well coordinated and as effective as they can be under these difficult circumstances."

In response to his call to quickly allow more international relief teams in to provide direct aid in a critical moment, Ban also said that Myanmar has allowed the U.N. to operate nine WFP ( World Food Program) helicopters to ferry relief supplies to cyclone victims stranded in largely inaccessible disaster-hit areas.

Ban is scheduled to leave Myanmar on Friday evening for Bangkok where he will meet Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundarvej and Foreign Minister Noppadon Saturday and be back to Yangon on Sunday to join the International Pledging Conference co-organized by the U.N. and the ASEAN.

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