Bangladesh today outright rejected a reported Malaysian plan to ask Dhaka to take 269 Rohingyas who managed to land on its soil, saying nothing obligated Dhaka to accept the proposition while it was unwilling to do so either.
"Bangladesh will not take them (Rohingyas)," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told BSS late night on Wednesday as approached for comments on international media reports about a Malaysian plan to pursue Bangladesh to receive the Rohingyas.
Talking to a BSS diplomatic correspondent over phone, Momen further said "Bangladesh is neither obligated nor in a position to provide shelter to any more Rohingya" while it by now provided makeshift shelter to over a million of them.
He said Bangladesh had nothing to do if any Rohingya get into Malaysian territory to be detained there.
"Rohingyas are not Bangladesh citizens rather they are inhabitants of Myanmar for centuries," Momen said.
The Bangladesh foreign minister's comments came hours after international media reported that Malaysia would ask Bangladesh to take back nearly 300 Rohingyas detained after a boat carrying them entered its waters earlier this week.
Momen said Dhaka would not shoulder the responsibility of the Rohingyas in Malaysia and "we will (rather) welcome the global leaderships and organizations to relocate the persecuted 1.1 million Rohingyas who are now in temporary shelters in Bangladesh".
"Other countries are also welcome to take them (from Bangladesh)," he added.
A Bangladesh foreign ministry official in Dhaka earlier told an international news agency that the Rohingyas detained in Malaysia were the responsibility of Myanmar.
According to media reports Malaysian authorities arrested 269 Rohingyas and retrieved the body of a woman from a damaged boat near the Malaysian island of Langkawi, off its northwestern coast.
Quoting Malaysia's defence minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob the Reuters news agency said Kuala Lumpur might ask for the migrants to be placed on Bangladesh's Bhasan Char island where Bangladesh had earlier planned to re-settle Rohingya refugees.
"Malaysia also plans to ask United Nations refugee agency UNHCR to re-settle Rohingya migrants in a third country," the report quoted him as saying as well.
Bangladesh hosts over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and other rights groups dubbed as "genocide".
Even after almost three years, not a single Rohingya went back home yet although Myanmar agreed to take them back.
On May 21, the foreign minister has also called upon the European Union (EU) countries to share with Bangladesh the burden of sheltering persecuted Rohingyas by relocated them in Europe or other countries.
"Providing shelter to Rohingyas was not the responsibility of Bangladesh alone," he said while, joining a video conference with head of mission of 10 EU countries stationed here.