While fighting continued between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army, mortar shells fired from the country landed inside the Bangladesh territory. There have been casualties in Bangladesh territory as well.
The ambassador of Myanmar was summoned to the foreign ministry four times as the people living near the border are in constant panic.
According to diplomatic sources, acting foreign secretary Rear Admiral (retd.) Md. Khurshed Alam informed the diplomats about the border situation on Tuesday. In the meeting to exchange views, lasting more than an hour, Bangladesh sought cooperation of the international community to settle the situation.
We have to take enough preparation before raising the Bangladesh-Myanmar border situation in the UN Security Council. We have to fix what we want to achieve through this. We can get better results if we approach with appropriate preparations
Bangladesh mentioned that it will raise the issue in the United Nations for a peaceful resolution of the border situation.
The UK High Commissioner Robert Dickson said that if Bangladesh wanted to raise the matter in the UN Security Council, the UK would support it as a permanent member.
Welcoming the proposal, Bangladesh said no final decision has been made as yet whether Bangladesh would go to the Security Council or not. However, the border situation between Bangladesh and Myanmar will be highlighted in prime minister Sheikh Hasina's speech in the General Assembly debate.
When asked, a Bangladeshi diplomat told Prothom Alo that there were two ways to raise any issue in the UN Security Council. One is to present it in the form of a resolution in the Security Council. There is also an opportunity for general discussion in the Security Council on any issue.
However, in both cases, there is no chance to proceed if any of the five permanent members of the council exercise its veto power.
Several diplomatic sources present at the meeting on Tuesday informed Prothom Alo that one of the western diplomats said there could be new influx of Rohingya people into Bangladesh due to the fight between Arakan Army and Myanmar Army. In this context, it was asked, whether Bangladesh would accept funds if collected on humanitarian grounds.
Bangladesh does not follow the principle of animosity with anyone including neighbouring countries. That’s why Bangladesh is relying on diplomacy to resolve the problem. Other alternatives could be thought of if the diplomacy fails at last
The foreign diplomats were told that Bangladesh would not give any opportunity of new influx of Rohingya people into its territory. There is a political decision in this regard. As a result, Bangladesh would not take any new humanitarian assistance over the intrusion of any Rohingya.
Later, that top diplomat of the western country, mentioning that Bangladesh talked about relocating its people from Bandarban to a safer place, proposed for humanitarian assistance for the move.
To this, Bangladesh side thanked the diplomat and said that the government has no plan to relocate a large number of people from its territory along the Myanmar border. A very few people could be relocated for a very short term. In this context, the government is not feeling any necessity of taking any humanitarian assistance from outside of the country.
A diplomatic source said, diplomats of two countries asked why Bangladesh is putting emphasis on diplomacy over choosing to show its strength to resolve the border situation.
In response, the Bangladesh side said Bangladesh does not follow the principle of animosity with anyone including neighbouring countries. That’s why Bangladesh is relying on diplomacy to resolve the problem. Other alternatives could be thought of if the diplomacy fails at last.
Then one of the two diplomats asked whether the situation would be in favour of Bangladesh if the country would think of alternative means after failing in diplomacy? The Bangladesh side said Bangladesh will look for a peaceful solution.
Md. Humayun Kabir, Bangladesh’s former ambassador to the US considers the proposal of the UK, one of the pivotal member states of the UNSC, undoubtedly positive.
Speaking to Prothom Alo on Thursday night he said, “We have to take enough preparation before raising the Bangladesh-Myanmar border situation in the UN Security Council. We have to fix what we want to achieve through this. We can get better results if we approach with appropriate preparation. But it won’t bring any result if Bangladesh can’t highlight the issue convincingly.”
* The report, originally published in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten by Farjana Liakat and Shameem Reza