Dhaka to convey its position “strongly”

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Dhaka : Bangladesh will “strongly urge” Myanmar on Wednesday to take back all Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh.

The message will be conveyed during important meetings to be held between Bangladesh and Myanmar sides in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Myanmar’s special envoy and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Kyaw Tin arrived here on Tuesday evening to discuss bilateral issues with special focus on Rohingya crisis.

Director General at the South East Asia wing of the Foreign Ministry Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury received Kyaw Tin at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on his arrival.

The special envoy, who is leading a delegation, will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganobhaban at 6pm on Wednesday, said a senior official at the Foreign Ministry here.

Before meeting the Prime Minister, the special envoy, sent by Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, will have working lunch and official talks with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque at state guesthouse Padma from 1:30pm to 4:45pm on the same day, the official said.

Bangladesh, during the meetings, will reiterate its position and seek a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue.

Earlier, Bangladesh said around 50,000 people fled Myanmar and entered Bangladesh since October 9 last.

Quoting the UN relief agency, the international media on Monday reported that at least 65,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, including some 22,000 in just the last one week since the latest army crackdown started in October.

An official at the Foreign Ministry here said Bangladesh wants a solution to the Rohingya issue and has already expressed readiness to engage with Myanmar to discuss the process and modalities of repatriation of Myanmar nationals.

Earlier on December 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka Myo Myint Than and demanded early repatriation of all Myanmar nationals staying in the country.

As part of mounting international pressure on Myanmar, the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will come together in Kuala Lumpur on January 19 to discuss possible remedies to the situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

This is going to be an ‘extraordinary’ meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Bangladesh will place its position before the extraordinary meeting in Kuala Lumpur on overall situation apart from the latest developments on the Rohingya issue.

In November last year, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told Dhaka-based diplomats about the government’s concerns over the influx of Rakhine Muslims into Bangladesh despite the border guards’ efforts to stop the flow.

He briefed them on the evolving situation in Myanmar and Bangladesh-Myanmar relations.

The foreign minister apprised the diplomatic community of the steps that the government had taken to establish and maintain friendly relations with Myanmar, particularly with the newly elected NLD government through engagements at different levels.

He informed them about the cooperation that Bangladesh had provided to Myanmar since the terrorist attacks took place at the border guard posts of Myanmar on Oct 9.

“As a responsible neighbour, Bangladesh not only condemned the attack, but also provided critical assistance to the government of Myanmar by apprehending suspects and sharing intelligence,” the diplomats were told.

The foreign minister added that Bangladesh had already requested the government of Myanmar to take appropriate measures so that the Muslim minorities are not forced to take shelter across the border.

The Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka was called to the foreign ministry and was conveyed Bangladesh’s concerns over the issue, according to a news agency.

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