Myanmar says it's ready to take back Rohingya

Wednesday 21st February 2018 05:16 EST

Dhaka: Myanmar Home Minister Kyaw Swe told Bangladesh's president that Myanmar is ready to take back Rohingya Muslims who fled violence, though Bangladesh said it wanted the refugees to have a safe and dignified return.

Kyaw Swe, who was on a three-day visit told Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid that Myanmar was ready to take back Rohingya under a deal the countries signed late last year, presidential spokesperson Joynal Abedin said. Abedin also quoted the minister as saying that Myanmar will implement the recommendations by a commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The spokesperson said Hamid expressed his concern for Rohingya and wanted a safe and dignified return of them as per the deal. Kyaw Swe met his Bangladeshi counterpart to discuss further. A statement from the Home Ministry said Kyaw Swe and the police, foreign ministry officials and others travelling with him intend to discuss border security, law enforcement and other issues.

Some 7,00,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since late August when Myanmar's military launched a security crackdown that's been widely criticised as amounting to ethnic cleansing. Myanmar has said it launched "clearance" operations against terrorists and has dismissed as false allegations from witnesses and survivors that troops and Buddhist mobs engaged in killings and rapes of Rohingya and set fires that wiped out villages.

UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council that conditions aren't right for Rohingya to voluntarily return because Myanmar hasn't addressed their exclusion and denial of rights and citizenship. Grandi also said Rohingya were still fleeing Myanmar and thousands more were expected still to try to leave.

The repatriation was scheduled to begin in January but Bangladesh said it needed more time to prepare and the security situation was a concern.

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