Sunday, November 5, 2017 11:01:04 PM
Staff Reporter :
Visiting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A Shannon said, only diplomatic efforts can resolve the Rohingya crisis. United States does not want to punish anyone in this regard.
"Our efforts are to resolve the crisis and not to punish anyone. United States is working with Bangladesh government and other international organisations to address the ongoing Rohingya refugee influx," he said.
Thomas A Shannon said this in a joint briefing at State Guesthouse of Padma in Dhaka on Sunday.
Shannon headed the US delegation while Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh team at the partnership dialogue.
Responding to a query from a journalist during a press briefing about US sanction or any other restrictive measure on Myanmar if its government does not take back their own nationals who fled persecution inflicted by their own security forces in the State of Rakhine, Shannon said, there have been engagements between diplomats and other government officials between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
"So, engagement is taking place. Dialogue is taking place,' Shannon said adding that their purpose is to try and find a way to capture that and continue to move it forward towards some kind of solution," he said.
On October 23, the US State Department said it was exploring scopes to impose sanctions against Myanmar.
Since August 25, more than 607,000 Rohingya refugees were forced to leave their home and several other thousands were killed in the violence in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
Every day hundreds of Rohingya people are crossing the border and taking refuge in Bangladesh on a daily basis.
The US envoy conveyed his country's high appreciation on the generosity that the government and people of Bangladesh have shown by hosting over 607,000 Rohingya refugees.
Earlier in the day, the sixth US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue was held reviewing the entire gamut of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Apart from the bilateral issues, regional and global issues also, including the Rohingya crisis, were discussed in the dialogue. US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A Shannon led the US side while Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque the Bangladesh side.
Shahidul Haque said the US remains the strongest supporter of Bangladesh over the Rohingya issue and the US has so far taken 31 concrete steps over the issue. Foreign Ministry officials said, the safe, sustainable and dignified return of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals was discussed with outmost importance in the dialogue. Bangladesh underscored the vital importance of sustained political pressure and actions of all kinds on Myanmar government by the international community and particularly by the US government for their early repatriation and permanently stopping the violence.
Bangladesh side highlighted the five-point proposal given by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the 72nd UNGA in New York in September this year.
Both Bangladesh and the US sides discussed the humanitarian crisis unfolding on the border with Myanmar.
'I reiterated the alarm expressed by officials at the highest levels of the US government, including President Trump, Vice-President Pence, and Secretary Tillerson, regarding the scale of the atrocities that are being reported in northern Rakhine State,' Shannon said.
Bangladesh underlined the fact that despite the claim from the Myanmar side that the violence has stopped, people from Myanmar are still crossing the border and coming to Bangladesh in thousands every day, narrating the stories of atrocities that are contributing to the continued influx of Rohingyas. Shannon attended the partnership dialogue for the second time since its beginning in 2012.
Shanon who arrived on Sunday morning met journalists around 2:40pm after participating in the Sixth US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue at State Guest House Padma in Dhaka.
Shannon will leave Dhaka today.
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