Dhaka urges Delhi to help create safe zone for Rohingyas

Soumya Bandyopadhyay . New Delhi | Update:

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen. File photoBangladesh has come up with a new proposal for India regarding the Rohingya crisis.

The proposal states that a safe haven can be created in Myanmar’s Rakhine state where the driven-out Rohingyas can be rehabilitated.

And countries who are friends of Myanmar can take responsibility of ensuring that the Rohingyas can live there free of fear, in safety, with a sustainable livelihood. These countries can include India, China and ASEAN members.

Bangladesh’s foreign minister AK Abdul Momen placed this proposal before the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj during his recent visit to India, adding that India should include this in talks with Myanmar.

Abdul Momen was speaking to the media after a dinner hosted in his honour by the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi on Friday.

The foreign minister said, Myanmar may agree to its friendly states taking responsibility of overseeing the Rohingya and monitoring their welfare upon their return. He said Modi responded by saying it was an ‘innovative proposal.’

Abdul Momen chose India for his first overseas visit after becoming foreign minister. During the three-day trip, he attended that Bangladesh-India Joint Consultant Commission (JCC) meeting.

Speaking to the media, he said that he had also placed the proposal before Sushma Swaraj. She wanted to know if he had given the proposal to prime minister Modi and he assured her he had, albeit in brief.

Sushma then asked that why he hadn’t proposed this to the Myanmar foreign minister who was his friend. He said that Myanmar would given the proposal more importance if it came from India.

During the JCC meet, Abdul Momen stressed the need for sharing the waters of common rivers including Teesta. Some of these flow in from China. He said that the experts of the Bangladesh-India Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) would decide whether the issue of water sharing would be sorted out bilaterally or multilaterally.

* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir

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