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12th-Sep-2017

Backdoor diplomacy initiated to strengthen Western support

By

Kazi Zahidul Hasan  :
The government is going through an intense 'backdoor diplomacy' in an effort to mobilize supports from powerful western nations in dealing with the influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. 
Bangladesh missions in Brussels and Washington are coordinating the matter, officials said on Monday.
Both the missions are also working to peruse the western world in adopting a motion condemning Myanmar's actions on the Rohingyas in the UN General Assembly (UNGA), and put pressure on the country to take back the refugees.
As part of its efforts, Dhaka has already circulated "evidence" of atrocities by Myanmar army among UN bodies and other international human rights organisations.
 "The government has intensified a 'back door diplomacy' to mobilize support from powerful western countries so that they stand beside Bangladesh to deal with the Rohingya crisis. Diplomatic efforts are on to hold bilateral talks with Russia, China and India over the issue," a senior foreign ministry official told The New Nation yesterday on condition of anonymity.
He added, "Dhaka seeks their supports from behind the scene mediation for a peaceful solution over the crisis and to reach a deal with Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas."
Russia, China and India remain silent over the ongoing Rohingya crisis drawing much flak to Bangladeshi people.    
About 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh in recent weeks as Myanmar security forces carried out a 'cruel' operation on the Muslim minority community in the Rakhine State.
Prior to this, some 500,000 Rohingyas have already come to Bangladesh and settled in refugee camps set up in Cox's Bazar district.
The fresh influx, however, put additional burden to overpopulated Bangladesh, which recently experienced a devastated flood causing severe damage to rural infrastructure, farmlands and loss of crops and cattle.
The Foreign Ministry official said Dhaka wants to secure a deal with Myanmar for the permanent and peaceful solution over the current and longstanding crisis. The western world and regional powers -- China and India -- can play a major role in resolving the current impasse.
 "Bangladesh's request to Myanmar to take back the refugees has so far fallen on deaf ears. So, we want to put a renewed pressure on Myanmar seeking support from western world. Their support in this regard can help produce a permanent solution over the crisis," he added.
Dhaka also put forward the idea of holding an international conference of donor countries to ensure shelter and foods for Rohingya people who fled to makeshift refuge camps in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh foreign office in the last two days briefed the foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka about the ongoing Rohingya crisis and sought global support to immediately halt violence against Rohingya people.
The latest violence in Myanmar's northwestern Rakhine State began on August 25, following alleged militant attack on dozens of police posts and an army base.
The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 3000 people and triggered the exodus of villagers to Bangladesh.
Those who arrived in Bangladesh accused the Myanmar army of burning their homes, mass killings, gang rape and indiscriminate torture on Rohingya community.
Myanmar authorities have denied the allegations saying they are carrying out a legitimate operation in the Rakhine State to root out insurgency.   
The Rohingya, a stateless mostly Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Rakhine, have long been experienced persecution in Myanmar.