Welcoming the resumption of talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday reiterated Dhaka's call to expedite the verification process of the Rohingyas to begin their repatriation to their place of origin in Rakhine State of Myanmar.
"It's good news that they (Myanmar) have started discussion," he said, adding that there have been three meetings at various levels recently.
While taking to reporters in a city hotel Momen said the Bangladesh side handed over a list of 8.30 lakh individuals containing biometric data but they have only verified 58,000.
He said Bangladesh wants to begin repatriation of the Rohingyas but no date has been fixed yet to make that happen.
Momen, however, said the two sides had a good meeting on Tuesday in which Bangladesh laid emphasis on expediting the verification process and begin the repatriation of the Rohingyas as soon as possible.
Bangladesh and Myanmar on Tuesday held "substantive discussions" on all issues related to voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland.
At a meeting held virtually, Bangladesh stressed on the need for early commencement of repatriation to lessen the colossal burden of hosting the displaced people, expeditious verification of eligibility for return, and security, livelihood and wellbeing of the returnees.
Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar Chan Aye led the respective sides at the fifth meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the repatriation of the Rohingyas temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh.
Five years have passed since the Rohingyas fled home in one of the largest exoduses in recent history.
The promise of safe return remains unfulfilled, says Bangladesh, noting that not a single Rohingya has been able to return home.
Both sides agreed to work on addressing verification related problems and holding regular meetings of the JWG and technical working group for early commencement of repatriation.
JCC with India
Asked about the next round of Joint Consultation Commission (JCC) meeting between Bangladesh and India, the foreign minister said all the issues including border management, issues related to joint rivers and energy security will be discussed.
Bangladesh was seeking the long-delayed meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission but it is not taking place before the JCC.
"We wanted to have the JRC meeting first," Momen said, adding that Bangladesh will discuss the rivers' issues in the JCC.
The JCC is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on 19 June and the foreign minister is likely to leave here for Delhi on 18 June if there is no last minute change.
Foreign minister Momen and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar had a meeting while attending the third edition of Asian Confluence River Conclave-2022 (NADI) in Guwahati last month.
The JCC will be co-chaired by Momen and Jaishankar.
The two foreign ministers also met in Dhaka recently and stressed on following up the decisions taken at the highest level for their effective implementation for mutual benefit.
The sixth meeting of the JCC was held on 29 September, 2020. Although Dhaka was scheduled to host the meeting, the meeting was held on a virtual platform due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Bangladesh and India noted that 2021 was a landmark year for their relationship as the president and the prime minister of India visited Bangladesh in a single year. The countries celebrated the 50th years of diplomatic ties through the joint celebration of a number of landmark events across the world.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to visit India this year.