As US, Burma Talk, Volunteers Say Junta Is Selling Aid

American troops stand ready to help relief
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2008 3:46 PM CDT
As US, Burma Talk, Volunteers Say Junta Is Selling Aid
In this Burma News Agency photo taken on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 and released by China's Xinhua News Agency on Thursday, May 8, 2008, Cyclone survivors wave to a helicopter carrying relief goods in the hardest-hit Irrawaddy delta, Myanmar.   (AP Photo/Burma News Agency via Xinhua News Agency)

(Newser) – A US admiral met with Burma's military command today in continued attempts to persuade the government to allow US servicemen into the country to assist in relief efforts, the Washington Post reports. Meanwhile, a Burmese volunteer operating his own supply effort tells the Daily Telegraph that government officials are commandeering supplies to sell at public markets.

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"If they see our relief supplies, they will come over and say 'don’t worry, give that to us, we will distribute it for you',” the volunteer said. "But we know that for every 10 sacks of rice we give them … six will end up being sold in some local town." Foreigners headed to stricken areas are being turned away, a theme familiar to US military officers. "We are ready to respond as soon as the Burmese give us permission," said Adm. Timothy Keating. "We did not get that permission today." (Read more Cyclone Nargis stories.)

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