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Dhaka wants Moscow`s support in resolving Rohingya crisis

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04th-Apr-2018       
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DHAKA has sought Moscow's support in resolving the Rohingya crisis. Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali made the call at a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow last Monday.  Better late than never, it was an important plea which should have been taken sooner when the military campaign in the Rakhine State of Myanmar forced over a million Rohingya refugees to flee their homeland to save their lives last year.
According to the Foreign Office press release, in response to Ali's call for Russian assistance and involvement, Lavrov is reported to have praised the efforts taken by Bangladesh and considered the recent engagements of Myanmar and the proposed inclusion of UN agencies and UNHCR in the rehabilitation arrangement. He also assured possible assistance of Russia in this regard.
At the onset of the crisis last year the Russian stance was clearly different from now. Also during the special UN session it sided with Myanmar. However, given the growing severity of the crisis our Russian friends appeared to have changed their position. Their stance was cleared when Senator Konstantin Kusachev, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Upper House, made an assurance while exchanging views with a Bangladesh delegation during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 137th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union last October.
The point is that rather than counting on Russian aid relief or humanitarian assistance it is much important to directly engage Russia in the refugee repatriation process along with the UN agencies. Secondly, Russia has been Myanmar's second most important defense partner and military hardware supplier. If it intends it can right away stop or limit its military engagements with Myanmar. Thirdly, Myanmar practically being friendless in the international community regarding the Rohingya issue is heavily dependent on Russia and China for their support.
The friendly relation between Bangladesh and Russia is nothing new. Particularly, Russia was a big supporter of our War of Independence in 1971. The relations between the two countries have recently improved again. This could be a reminder to Myanmar that Bangladesh has alternative partners to work with if anyone tries to marginalize the country.
We can take it positively that our Russian friends are gradually shifting their attention. So, Dhaka must try its best to ensure that Moscow would take initiatives both bilaterally and from the UN platform to see an end to the Rohingya crisis.


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