Amid the changed situation in Myanmar, the next round of discussion on Rohingya repatriation, scheduled to take place virtually on Thursday, appears to be uncertain.
Bangladesh is yet to establish contact with the new military-led government in Myanmar but communicated with the Chinese government as China is mediating talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Tuesday said they are waiting for feedback from Myanmar about the planned DG-level working group meeting.
Earlier, Myanmar responded positively to begin Rohingya repatriation with the next round of talks in the first week of February.
Responding to a question, the Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh wants to see Rohingya repatriation issue is discussed in the UN Security Council meeting instead of only political situation in Myanmar. The pre-set UNSC meeting is scheduled to take place today.
Earlier, Myanmar said they are committed to begin repatriation of Rohingyas as per the bilateral agreement signed with Bangladesh in 2017.
Myanmar's International Cooperation Minister Kyaw Tin conveyed it to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen in a recent letter.
The Myanmar Minister also said they are committed to ensuring peaceful relations with all neighbours, including Bangladesh, and resolving any problems peacefully.
Kyaw Tin said they want to resolve any bilateral issues with neighbours through mutual partnership.
He hoped to begin repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar soon through the tripartite talks held among Bangladesh, Myanmar and China on January 19.
Bangladesh has handed over a list of 840,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar for verification. Myanmar has verified only 42,000 people (5 percent).
"There's a serious lack of seriousness," said the Foreign Minister.
Dr Momen said they are doing their part but Myanmar is not helping the same way. He said he is always hopeful of beginning repatriation as history says they took back their nationals in 1978 and 1992.
Rohingya crisis and repatriation
More than three years ago, Myanmar's soldiers "targeted, killed, and raped" Rohingya and burned their villages, as the United Nations, Refugees International, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the US State Department itself, and many others have documented.
Over 800,000 Rohingyas fled the "genocidal violence" and Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas.
Bangladesh is trying in multiple ways - bilaterally, multilaterally, tri-laterally, and through the judicial system – to find a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation deal on November 23, 2017.
They then signed a document on "Physical Arrangement", which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland.
But repatriation attempts failed twice in November 2018 and August 2019 - clearly amid Rohingyas' "lack of trust" in the Myanmar government.
Subsequently, during the 74th UNGA held in September 2019 in New York, China took an initiative to propose the tripartite framework with their presence largely in an overseeing role, that can nevertheless hold both sides to account on their respective commitments to each other.
The Bangladesh side had already complained of Myanmar acting in 'bad faith' during negotiations, whereby they never had any intention of taking the Rohingya back and was only meeting to keep up appearances.
However, soon after a meeting of the trio on January 20, 2020, the coronavirus lockdowns started taking its toll in different parts of the world.
Bangladesh pushed Myanmar hard on creating a favourable environment for Rohingya repatriation with an expeditious verification process and "cautiously expressed optimism" to begin it in the second quarter of this year.