World

Myanmar says Doctors Without Borders not expelled; hints work may stop only in Rakhine state

  • In this Feb. 23, 2014 photo, protesters hold placards and shout slogans as they stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar. Doctors Without Borders said Friday it has been expelled from Myanmar and that tens of thousands of lives are at risk. The government defended the move Friday, accusing the organization of creating tensions and instability in violence-scarred Rakhine state, where it has faced repeated protests for treating members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP Photo/Zin Chit Aung)

    In this Feb. 23, 2014 photo, protesters hold placards and shout slogans as they stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar. Doctors Without Borders said Friday it has been expelled from Myanmar and that tens of thousands of lives are at risk. The government defended the move Friday, accusing the organization of creating tensions and instability in violence-scarred Rakhine state, where it has faced repeated protests for treating members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP Photo/Zin Chit Aung)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Feb. 23, 2014 photo, protesters and Buddhist monks hold placards and shout slogans as they stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar. Doctors Without Borders said Friday it has been expelled from Myanmar and that tens of thousands of lives are at risk. The government defended the move Friday, accusing the organization of creating tensions and instability in violence-scarred Rakhine state, where it has faced repeated protests for treating members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP Photo/Zin Chit Aung)

    In this Feb. 23, 2014 photo, protesters and Buddhist monks hold placards and shout slogans as they stage a rally against Doctors Without Borders in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar. Doctors Without Borders said Friday it has been expelled from Myanmar and that tens of thousands of lives are at risk. The government defended the move Friday, accusing the organization of creating tensions and instability in violence-scarred Rakhine state, where it has faced repeated protests for treating members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP Photo/Zin Chit Aung)  (The Associated Press)

  • AIDS patient Myo Min Tun, left, 38, talks during an interview along with his AIDS patient wife Zin Mar Shwe, right, 32, at HIV/AIDS care center founded by Phyu Phyu Thin, a parliament member of Myanmar Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party, in outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014. Doctors Without Borders said Friday it has been expelled from Myanmar and that tens of thousands of lives are at risk.The government defended the move Friday, accusing the organization of creating tensions and instability in violence-scarred Rakhine state, where it has faced repeated protests for treating members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

    AIDS patient Myo Min Tun, left, 38, talks during an interview along with his AIDS patient wife Zin Mar Shwe, right, 32, at HIV/AIDS care center founded by Phyu Phyu Thin, a parliament member of Myanmar Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party, in outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014. Doctors Without Borders said Friday it has been expelled from Myanmar and that tens of thousands of lives are at risk.The government defended the move Friday, accusing the organization of creating tensions and instability in violence-scarred Rakhine state, where it has faced repeated protests for treating members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)  (The Associated Press)

A day after Doctors Without Borders announced it was being expelled from Myanmar, the government says negotiations with the organization are ongoing and that the group may be allowed to resume operations everywhere but Rakhine, a state plagued by bloody bouts of sectarian violence.

After intense international pressure, presidential spokesman Ye Htut told The Associated Press on Saturday that Rakhine's government had asked for the humanitarian group's operations to be suspended in the state, but that its work would not be disrupted elsewhere in the country.

The aid group was told earlier this week that its license was being revoked, in part because it was hiring "Bengalis," the name Myanmar's government uses to refer to the long-persecuted Rohingya ethnic Muslim minority. Some of the group's HIV/AIDS clinics were closed Friday.