Claiming that China and India are with Bangladesh to face the ongoing Rohingya crisis, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque on Monday said the government urged the international community to pursue Myanmar for immediate and unconditional implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission’s recommendations.
He came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after a diplomatic briefing at State Guesthouse Padma.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said the government has decided to take all the Ambassadors, High Commissioners and CDAs stationed in Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday to help them see for themselves the challenges and humanitarian crisis Bangladesh is facing due to fresh influx of over 3,00,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar in the face of persecution in the neighbouring country.
Ambassadors, High Commissioners, CDAs from diplomatic Missions of Afghanistan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives were present at the diplomatic briefing. However, Myanmar was not invited to attend the meeting.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, the Foreign Secretary and other senior officials of the Foreign Ministry were also present.
Shahidul said Mahmood Ali briefed the envoys about the current situation over the influx of Rohingyas and apprised that over 300,000 Rohingyas have already entered Bangladesh in the last two weeks.
He said the minister also mentioned that Bangladesh has already been hosting some 400,000 Rohingyas for the last three decades and the total number of Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh has now crossed 700,000. “This is creating a huge challenge for Bangladesh in terms of providing shelter as well as other humanitarian assistances to them.”
Referring to the recently published report of the Kofi Annan Commission, Shahidul said the Foreign Minister urged the international community to pursue the Myanmar government for immediate and unconditional implementation of the recommendations of this report in its entirety for permanent solution to this crisis.
“He also requested the international community to help Bangladesh with urgent humanitarian assistances to address the current crisis, support for transportation of the Rohingyas to Bhashan Char, as well as to provide political support to ensure sustainable return of all Myanmar nationals to their homes in Myanmar,” the Foreign Secretary said.
He said Mahmood Ali told the diplomats that Myanmar should urgently end killing Rohingyas and repression on them to stop their entry into Bangladesh. “Myanmar can take back its citizens after ascertaining their nationality through verifications.”
Shahidul said they still did not get any response from Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
The Foreign Secretary said all the diplomats attended the meeting voiced deep concern over Bangladesh’s additional burden and humanitarian crisis following the influx of the huge refugees.
He said they all assured Bangladesh of standing by it at this critical time and share the burden of refugees by providing necessary resources to host the Rohingyas taken shelter here.
Replying to a question what the Chinese and Indian envoys told them about the crisis, Shahidul said, “As China and India are our brotherly countries, they expressed solidarity with Bangladesh and assured us of staying with us to face the situation.”
As his attention was drawn to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support to Myanmar, the Foreign Secretary declined the make any comment on it.”
He said the countries that attended the briefing highly praised the Bangladesh government for hosting the Rohingyas for all these years and also giving shelter to the Myanmar nationals who are fleeing violence in Rakhine. “They also stressed the protection of civilians in Rakhine.”
Shahidul said the Foreign Minister highlighted that Bangladesh has always preferred having a bilateral solution to this longstanding problem and was successful in repatriating 236,599 Rohingyas to their homeland through a bilateral agreement in 1992.
He mentioned that the 1992 agreement recognised Rohingyas as ‘members of Myanmar society’.
The Foreign Minister also highlighted Bangladesh’s efforts to address the security concerns of Myanmar, particularly by proposing MoUs in 2014 on Border Liaison Office and Security Dialogue.
Minister Ali said Bangladesh has also proposed joint inspection, coordinated patrolling of border; and ‘joint operation’ along the border. “Unfortunately, Myanmar has not responded to these proposals. Rather, they’ve been running a malicious propaganda terming the Rohingyas as ‘illegal migrants from Bangladesh’ and the attackers to their BGP posts as ‘Bengali terrorists’.”
About the planned visit of diplomats to Cox’s Bazar, Shahidul said they will invite all the Ambassadors, High Commissioners and CDAs stationed in Dhaka to go there.
On Sunday, Mahmood Ali held two back-to-back diplomatic briefings at the State Guesthouse Padma on the Rohingya problem.