Dhaka, Oct 2 – Bangladesh and Myanmar on Monday agreed to form a joint working group to start the repatriation process of all the Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, which Dhaka sees as a “progress.”“It’ll soon be formed and I’m hopeful (about a solution),” Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told reporters in the afternoon mentioning that Myanmar came up with the proposal of repatriation of the Rohingyas.
He, however, said the composition of the joint working group will be finalised later. “We’ll give our names from our side while they’ll give their names (for the joint working group).”
Bangladesh has also proposed a bilateral agreement with Myanmar to facilitate the implementation of repatriation process.
“A draft of the proposed deal has also been handed over to Myanmar side in the meeting,” Minister Ali said without elaborating details of the proposed deal.
The Foreign Minister said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan will soon visit Myanmar which will help take forward the negotiations with Myanmar.
“There has been fruitful discussion over border and security issues for forgoing more cooperation,” he said adding that some instruments on better border management are ready to give final shape during the visit.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh also reiterated its zero-tolerance position against terrorism.
“Both sides are looking forward to seeing a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis,” he said.
Asked about the timeframe of joint working group formation, he said, “We need to wait but let’s start the discussion.”
He said Bangladesh also flagged the Annan Commission’s recommendation and laid emphasis on implementation of those recommendations.
The Foreign Minister indicated that the joint working group will also do citizenship verification process apart from other related works.
At the meeting, Bangladesh has reiterated its position on the Rohingya issue and urged Myanmar to take steps for the sustainable return of all the Rohingyas to their homeland Myanmar who are currently living here, said a diplomatic source.
Earlier, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali had a lengthy meeting with visiting Minister of the Office of State Counselor Kyaw Tint Swe at state guesthouse the Padma and discussed the issues in details.
Bangladesh Home Minister and State Minister for Foreign Minister for Foreign M Shahriar Alam also attended the meeting that started at 11 am.
Amid the growing pressure on Myanmar, its de facto leader State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi sent her representative to discuss the Rohingya issue with the Bangladesh government.
Minister Kyaw Tint Swe arrived at Shahjalal International Airport by a Thai Airways flight around 1:5 am on Monday and will leave Dhaka on Monday night after his very brief visit.
The Myanmar minister desired to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina but the Prime Minister is scheduled to return home on October 7.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Sunday said Bangladesh itself is currently facing a severe crisis due to the influx of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals which made the problem a multidimensional one.
“The protracted presence of these forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in our country is creating a multidimensional problem for us,” he said while addressing the opening ceremony of a preparatory meeting on Smart Pledges at Radisson Blu Hotel in the city.
He said international peace and security are facing many new challenges. “In addition to poverty and conflicts, other emerging global issues such as climate change and natural disasters, outbreaks of new diseases, discrimination and persecutions, displacements — all these are posing new threats to the humanity.”
Since August 25, more than half a million Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh to flee ethnic cleansing in their own country.
Minister Ali said Bangladesh believes in a peaceful settlement of the international dispute. Accordingly, he said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has presented her five-point proposal in the UN General Assembly.
“In line with that we would like to peacefully resolve this issue at the earliest possible,” Ali said.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque earlier said Bangladesh keeps the open to discuss and resolve the Rohingya issue bilaterally apart from discussing it in international forums.
Some 507,000 new arrivals of Myanmar’s fleeing Rohingya population are reported as of September 30, including 453,300 new arrivals identified in IOM’s Needs and Population Monitoring assessments in four upazilas of Cox’s Bazar district, says a new report on Sunday.
The latest figure includes 35,000 in refugee camps reported by UNHCR and 18,700 reported by field staff in Naikhongchhari (Bandarban district).
Over the last two days, movement across the border in Cox’s Bazar has reportedly decreased again, according to the report ‘Situation Report: Rohingya Crisis’.
Coordination Group (ISCG), convened by the IOM, in collaboration with humanitarian partners prepared the report that covered September 21-27. – UNB