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Cablegate: Gob Approves New Unhcr Operation

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Jean
Marie Fakhouri, told Rangoon diplomatic corps February 13
that the GOB was giving UNHCR the green light to enter Karen
(Kayin) State, Mon State, and Tenasserim (Tanintharyi)
Division and conduct limited operations beginning March 1.
Fakhouri corroborated the details of the operations as
foreshadowed by UNHCR Country Representative to COM on Feb 5
(reftel). He highlighted that initial operations will be
limited to "roving presence" UNHCR teams that will assess
infrastructure upgrades required to support the possible
return of Karen refugees and IDPs.

2. (SBU) Fakhouri explained that UNHCR wants to dampen Thai
hopes for quick refugee returns to Burma and is focused on
avoiding a repeat of the 1996 rushed return of Mon refugees
following the New Mon State Party cease-fire. Fakhouri
estimated UNHCR will need $800,000 to $1 million this year
for the Phase 1 roving presence operations, and will brief
donors once back in Geneva. Fakhouri also expressed concern
about the pervasive mine problem in the region.

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