May 9, 2008 / 5:08 PM / 11 years ago

US aircraft approved for Myanmar aid mission-US

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) - Authorities in Myanmar have given approval for a U.S. military aircraft carrying relief supplies to land in the country on Monday, the White House said on Friday.

The White House announced the approval at a news briefing. A spokesman said, however, that Myanmar had not approved visas for a team of U.S. disaster assistance team now in Bangkok.

The Pentagon said it hoped approval for the flight would lead to more U.S. aid for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

"We hope that this is the beginning of broader support between the United States and Burma to help the Burmese people," said Marine Maj. Stuart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman.

The Pentagon also sought to reassure Myanmar’s military that any U.S. military presence in the country would be temporary.

"We will come, provide assistance and then leave, just like in Bangladesh, Indonesia and other places where we have provided assistance," Upton said.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, speaking at a briefing in Crawford, Texas, confirmed one flight had been approved to land. "One flight is better than no flights," he said.

Asked whether a U.S. disaster assistance team from Bangkok would get to go into Myanmar with aid, Johndroe said: "As of right now visas for them have not been approved. As I’ve said we’re going to continue to work with the government of Burma to allow additional access for not only U.S. assistance, but also assistance from NGOs and other countries." (Reporting by Andrew Gray in Washington and Jeremy Pelofsky in Crawford, Texas, editing by David Alexander)

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