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June 4, 2008

US ships to leave as junta spurns relief offer

As the Myanmar junta continues to reject the offer to deliver aid to the victims of cyclone Nargis and help in relief efforts, the US navy ships off the Myanmar coast is leaving the area, reported the Associated Press, quoting a top US military commander.

The agency quoted Admiral Timothy Keating as saying that he wants the USS Essex and accompanying vessels to resume their previously scheduled duties on Thursday.

The ships were in the region for international exercises. Keating made them available to help with relief efforts for last month's cyclone and they were deployed near Myanmar in case they obtained permission to enter the country's waters.

But Myanmar allowed only limited US military aid flights to the country, and barred the ships from approaching.

Keating says the US made at least 15 attempts to convince Myanmar's leaders to allow ships to provide additional disaster relief.

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