Bangladesh, Myanmar to hold talks on Rohingya issue

Wednesday 14th February 2018 02:46 EST

Dhaka: Repatriation of the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh will be high on the agenda of the ministerial-level meeting to be held between Bangladesh and Myanmar in Dhaka on Friday. Dhaka would stress restoration of peace and stability in Rakhine as well as creating a congenial atmosphere so that the refugees sheltered in Cox's Bazar are encouraged to return home.

Myanmar's Home Minister Lt Gen Kyaw Swe is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on February 15 to hold talks on various important issues with his Bangladesh counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. Apart from Rohingya crisis, the two sides would discuss halting smuggling of arms and drugs and full implementation of border agreement, among other issues. Bangladesh would ask Myanmar to take effective measures to stop narcotics production and smuggling and end drug trafficking across the border.

During his visit to Myanmar last year, Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali and Myanmar Home Minister Kyaw Swe on November 23 exchanged the long-awaited “Instrument of Ratification” of the Agreement on demarcation of the land section of boundary north of the Naf river” concluded in 1998 The two countries also signed “Supplementary Protocol on the demarcation of a fixed boundary in the Naf river” earlier agreed in 2007.

In another development, the United Nations Security Council will meet to discuss the latest situation in Myanmar that has sent about a million Rohingyas to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine on August 25 last year. The UNSC meeting seems important following a special investigative report on killing of 10 Rohingyas in Inn Din village in Rakhine who were buried in a mass grave after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbours and soldiers.

Four parliamentary delegations have, meanwhile, begun visiting the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar to see for themselves the plight of the refugees. The delegations - European Parliament's sub-committee on Human Rights (DROI), Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) and the delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia (DSAS) - would pay a three-day visit to the camps.

Three of the delegations would move to Myanmar to see the situation in Rakhine, while the DSAS team led by Jean Lambert would return to Dhaka to hold discussion with different levels including Election Commission, government high-ups, opposition leaders, civil society members and media.

Official sources say Dhaka is expected to hand over a token list of 10,000 Rohingya families to the visiting Myanmar minister asking him to begin the repatriation immediately. Foreign ministry officials said the government is going to complete a “list of a reasonable number of Rohingya families” and set up two repatriation camps within this month as part of the process of sending back the refugees to Myanmar.

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