U.N says it is 'essential' that aid work continue in Myanmar after military coup

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Rally against the military coup in the ancient city of Bagan

(Reuters) - The United Nations said on Friday it is essential that lifesaving humanitarian assistance continue to be delivered in Myanmar, after a military coup on Feb. 1 that has sparked mass protests across the country.

"The UN and its partners have, for many years, been responding to humanitarian needs caused by conflict and natural disasters in Myanmar," said Ola Almgren, the U.N. Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar.

"It is our absolute intention to continue this work also under the current circumstances."

He said the humanitarian response would be guided by principles of "neutrality, impartiality, independence and humanity".

Large crowds have been protesting almost daily across Myanmar since the army overthrew the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and detained most top leaders.

The military launched the coup after what it said was widespread fraud in a November election that was won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in a landslide. The electoral commission had rejected the fraud accusations.

(Writing by Poppy Elena McPherson; Editing by Frances Kerry)