Rohingya issue to be solved soon: FM

UNB . Dhaka | Update:

AH Mahmood AliForeign minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said Bangladesh is ‘quite evidently’ heading towards next step to have a permanent solution to Rohingya issue.

“Surely, they’ll have to take back their nationals ... we’re heading towards next step quite evidently, “ he told reporters at a press conference at the Foreign Ministry.

He said they have seen sincerity from the Myanmar side in resolving the issue.

Responding to a question, the foreign minister said Bangladesh wants to see a solution keeping ‘friendly relations’ with Myanmar unhurt.

Responding to a question, Mahmood Ali said Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar are extremely important for Bangladesh and tourism development activities are being hampered. “We want to see them leave Bangladesh quickly,” he said adding that forests are also being destroyed here.

State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam, foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque and other senior officials were present at the briefing to share the outcome of the meeting with Myanmar’s special envoy and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Kyaw Tin who arrived here on Tuesday evening to discuss bilateral issues with special focus on Rohingya crisis.

Bangladesh has also proposed forming a proper body to verify the citizenship of Rakhine people who took shelter here, said the foreign minister.

Kyaw Tin had a lengthy meeting with foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque at state guesthouse Padma on Wednesday.

The special envoy met prime minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganobhaban in the evening on Wednesday.

At the meeting, the prime minister renewed her call to Myanmar to take back its nationals from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh said around 65,000 people fled Myanmar and entered Bangladesh since October 9 last.

Quoting the UN relief agency, the international media also 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.

Earlier on 29 December, 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 19 January 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 9 Oct.

“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,” he told the diplomats.

The foreign minister added that Bangladesh has 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 envoy in Dhaka was called to the foreign ministry and was conveyed Bangladesh’s concerns over the issue.

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