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Dhaka for early repatriation of Rohingyas

Refugee issue dominates talks with Myanmar`s spl envoy

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12th-Jan-2017       
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Sagar Biswas :
Dhaka expressed its deep concern over the Rohingya refugee influx during the meeting between Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and visiting Myanmar's State Minister for Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin at state guest house Padma on Wednesday.

None of them briefed the media after the meeting which continued for about two hours from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Senior officials of Foreign Ministry, including Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, were present at that time.

Leader of Myanmar delegation Kyaw Tin was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganobhaban at 7:30 pm yesterday.

But sources close to the Foreign Ministry said that Bangladesh FM reportedly urged U Kyaw Tin to convey the message of Dhaka's firm stance over the refugee issue to the Myanmar high-ups.

At the same time, Dhaka demanded early repatriation of entire Myanmar population staying in Bangladesh saying that it's an internal problem of Myanmar and so, the issue should be resolved by its own efforts. It also asked Myanmar envoy to start discussion over the fixing process and modalities of repatriation.
 
Some other bilateral issues, particularly border security arrangement and firing on a Bangladeshi fishing boat named 'FV JANIVA KHALEDA-1 on December 27 fishing off the south-east of the Saint Martin's Island within Bangladesh's territorial water by a Myanmar's trawler that left four Bangladeshi fishermen injured, were also discussed during the meeting, the sources said.

A senior official of Foreign Ministry preferring to remain anonymous told The New Nation last night: "Myanmar told us that the special envoy has come here to discuss bilateral issues. But the issue of Rohingya refugees got high priority during the talks. And Bangladesh continued its pressure to take back the Rohingyas staying here." 

Earlier, the visiting Myanmar envoy went to state guest house Padma at about 12:30pm and held talks with Md Shahidul Haq for about one hour till 1:30pm. In that meeting, the FS preliminary briefed the Myanmar envoy about the refugee crisis.

Foreign Office sources said that Dhaka has been registering its protest against the Rohingya refugee influx from the very beginning, but Naypyidaw did not pay any heed to it.

Now being pressured by international community, the State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi sent the special envoy to Bangladesh.

According to government statement, over 2 lakh Rohingyas so far have been taken shelter in Bangladesh since 1970 after army-backed Myanmar government launched cleansing operation against Rohingyas. But concerned circle said the total number of registered and unregistered refugees would be more than 5 lakh.

As per an estimation provided by the United Nations, around 65,000 Rohingya people have entered through different points of Cox's Bazar only in last three months after the Myanmar army launched the crackdown in the Muslim dominated Rakhine state.

Expressing deep concern at the continued influx of Muslims from Rakhine state, Bangladesh Foreign Ministry in a statement issued recently mentioned that around 50,000 Myanmar citizens took shelter into Bangladesh since 09 October last year.

On September 19 last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar Foreign Minister Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi met at the UN Headquarters in New York, where the global leaders had gathered for the 71st UN General Assembly. But the subject of the talks between the two leaders was not disclosed.

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