Dhaka and Naypyidaw will soon hold another meeting over Rohingya repatriation through the mediation of China. However, the schedule for the meeting has not been finalised yet.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen made the announcement in a media briefing at the state guest house Padma on Thursday.
“The new Chinese ambassador called on me and said that they want to work more productively on this issue,” said the foreign minister.
Chinese representatives will go to Naypyidaw and set the meeting schedule, he added.
This will be the 5th joint meeting with Myanmar on the Rohingya repatriation issue since the last joint working committee meeting last May at Naypyidaw.
The foreign minister expressed strong optimism that China will support Bangladesh.
When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited China in July, the Chinese president and the prime minister assured her of their support over Rohingya repatriation.
Earlier, the foreign minister briefed diplomats of different countries and United Nations agencies about Bangladesh’s stand on Myanmar’s allegation that the Rohingya repatriation did not happen on August 22 because of failure from the Bangladesh side.
He said we made all necessary arrangements from our side, including security and logistics arrangements, for the voluntary return of Rohingyas to northern Rakhine.
“We also welcomed diplomats from both the Chinese and Myanmar Embassies in Dhaka to monitor the whole process of repatriation and the preparations made at Cox’s Bazar,” he added.
The foreign minister also said that “In line with our commitment to the principles of voluntary return, Bangladesh handed over a list of 3,450 Rohingya so far, verified by Myanmar, to the UNHCR through the UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka on 8 August to verify if these people are ready to return voluntarily under the present circumstances.”
The foreign minister informed diplomats that it is Myanmar’s failure to effectively prepare the camps in Rakhine, and to resettle the camp-dwellers to the places of their original residence as per their choice. He added that Myanmar’s failure to accept the people who have taken shelter at the border is a clear manifestation of their lack of good intent to repatriate and integrate these persecuted people.
AK Abdul Momen also claimed that a certain quarter -- which is fully responsible for the protracted crisis --- has accused Bangladesh of non-cooperation in the repatriation effort.
“The accusation is baseless, ill-motivated and unacceptable,” he added.
He rather blamed Myanmar for not commencing the Rohingya repatriation on August 22, 2019.
“Myanmar failed to reduce the trust-deficit between their government and their displaced people”, said the foreign minister.
Myanmar has committed to creating a conducive environment in Rakhine so that the Rohingya can get safety and security, and move around freely there.
“Let Myanmar also allow the global media and UN agencies, as Bangladesh did, to monitor and report on Myanmar’s readiness in receiving back their displaced people, the Rohingya,” urged the foreign minister.
He also urged Myanmar to let Rohingya leaders visit Rakhine to witness how conducive an environment they have created for them.
Bangladesh has urged Myanmar to fully concentrate on the implementation of its obligations and commitments necessary for a durable solution.
Myanmar should seriously consider comprehensively engaging the international community in creating an environment conducive for Rohingyas to return. It should allow the international community to monitor the repatriation and reintegration process in Myanmar, said the foreign minister.
However, the foreign minister urged the international community to create pressure on Myanmar so that they take the Rohingyas back.
According to bilateral agreements, the repatriation was scheduled to commence on January 2018 with a target to complete the process in the next two years. But regrettably, the process is yet to begin.
Bangladesh signed three bilateral agreements with Myanmar on the repatriation of forcibly displaced Rohingyas about two years back.
In reply to a question, the foreign minister said that Bangladesh has no information on whether any armed groups are working inside the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.