DHAKA: The U.S. government's aid chief called on Thursday on Myanmar to end violence against members of the Rohingya Muslim minority and to provide humanitarian workers and media unhindered access to the country.
Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), visited Rohingya refugee camps on a three-day visit to Bangladesh this week.
The United States would provide US$44 million in additional aid to help meet the needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, he told reports in Dhaka, before travelling on to Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.
"Today, I will fly to Burma and will ask them to end the violence and will also ask them to allow media access,” Green said.
"This humanitarian crisis is a global challenge and our government along with the international community will work together to support Bangladesh," he said.
According to U.N. officials, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Buddhist-majority Myanmar's Rakhine State to escape a military crackdown since August, launched in response to Rohingya insurgent attacks.
Refugees have told of numerous incidents of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes, which the United Nations has likened to "ethnic cleansing".
Myanmar has denied nearly all of the allegations, saying its security forces have been waging a legitimate counter-insurgency operation against Rohingya "terrorists".
Green, who is due to meet Myanmar government officials in the capital, Naypyitaw, said he would ask for "free and unhindered humanitarian access throughout the country" as well as access for media to travel freely.
U.S. President Donald Trump this month assured Bangladesh of U.S. support in dealing with the Myanmar Rohingya refugee crisis.
(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Writing by Euan Rocha)