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U.S. ‘Prepared to Play a Leading Role’ in Absorbing Muslim Refugees From Burma

by Susan Jones, CNS News:

The United States is “prepared to play a leading role” in resettling Muslim refugees from Burma and Bangladesh, known as Rohinga, a State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday. “We’ve already resettled, I think, more than 1,000 Rohinga, and we said we’re prepared to take a leading role in any (United Nations)-organized effort,” said spokeswoman Marie Harf. “It has to be a multicountry effort. We obviously can’t take this all on ourselves. But we are prepared to play a leading role in this effort.”

Harf spoke one day after the United Nations refugee agency warned that time was running out for thousands of people stranded at sea and urged governments in Southeast Asia “to urgently rescue and disembark these vulnerable people.”

“We estimate that nearly 4,000 people (Rohinga) from Myanmar and Bangladesh remain stranded at sea with dwindling supplies on board,” the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said. “This includes some 2,000 men, women and children stranded on at least five boats near the Myanmar-Bangladesh coasts for more than 40 days. Unconfirmed reports suggest the number could be higher,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday.

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