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13 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 13 June, 2019 01:42:49 AM
Fast intensifying Rohingya crisis

‘Myanmar spreading disinformation’

Envoys pledge to mount pressure on Naypyidaw
Diplomatic Correspondent, Dhaka
‘Myanmar spreading disinformation’

Bangladesh has told foreign envoys in Dhaka that Myanmar has been spreading disinformation and is not cooperating on Rohingya repatriation. The envoys said they would stand by Dhaka and continue to mount pressure on Myanmar for a permanent solution to the crisis spawned by the Myanmar army.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday told journalists that Bangladesh was eager to see a quick repatriation of the Rohingya population, but Myanmar was spreading disinformation that Bangladesh was not cooperating. The minister said this at the state guest house Padma after holding an hour-long meeting with a number of heads of diplomatic missions and UN agencies in Dhaka to reiterate Bangladesh's stand on Rohingya repatriation and to get their views.

“Recently, a Myanmar minister at Japan’s Future Asian conference said Bangladesh was responsible for the failure of the repatriation. He claimed Bangladesh was not cooperating. But Bangladesh is ready for the repatriation. Rather, Myanmar is repeatedly violating its pledges,” Momen said.

“We signed an agreement to start the repatriation in January last year and complete the process within two years. Myanmar said it would start the repatriation in November last year. Even during our fourth joint commission meeting recently, we were optimistic that the process would begin. But nothing happened,” he added.

“Not a single Rohingya has returned to Rakhine from Bangladesh or from the no man’s land. So, the disinformation spread by Myanmar is not correct. We want a peaceful solution to the crisis,” the foreign minister said.

Momen expressed utter dissatisfaction over Myanmar’s gross failure to ensure security and a favourable environment in Rakhine state in line with the provisions of the bilateral agreements for the repatriation. He also expressed frustration over Naypyidaw’s failure to demonstrate any political will and determination to fulfil its obligation and commitments.

In reply to a query, Momen said: “Recently, some terror activities have been detected in Rohingya camps. If they stay here for long, there is a possibility of radicalism. We’ll keep up our pressure on Myanmar and also its friendly countries to resolve the crisis.” “If the Rohingyas are not repatriated, terror activities will increase and the investment they have made here will go to the dogs. If uncertainty prevails, development will not take place,” he added.

Asked about the outcome of the meeting with the envoys, Momen said, “We have reiterated our stance. They promised to stand by us. We urged them to go to Myanmar to create a conducive environment. They have tentatively agreed to that.”

“Myanmar has started a disinformation campaign, saying only five lakh Rohingyas have crossed over to Bangladesh. But in last August, we had biometric reports of 7.40 lakh Rohingyas. Now the number is over 11 lakh,” he added.

Asked about China’s support in resolving the crisis, Momen said: “Our Prime Minister is likely to visit China next month. We will raise the issue then. We will tell China that their interest in Bangladesh is likely to be hampered in case of any uncertainty arising from the Rohingya issue.

China has repeatedly told us that the people of Myanmar should return to their own country.”

In reply to another query, the foreign minister said: “We have told the envoys that not only members of the Muslim community are being humiliated, but the entire humanity. If you have any feeling for humanity, you would know what to do.”

At the briefing, Momen presented facts and arguments to counter Myanmar’s allegations and expose that country’s gross disregard for its obligations and commitments.

The foreign minister expressed deep concern over the deteriorating security situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

He stressed the need for sincere and expeditious implementation of the provisions of bilateral instruments by the Myanmar government with a deeper engagement with the international community.

The meeting was attended, among others, by the representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, the US, the UK, Canada, China, India, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Palestine, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Sudipto Mukherjee, resident representative of the UNDP Bangladesh, told journalists: “The expectation from Myanmar has not been fulfilled yet.

Bangladesh wants to resolve the crisis peacefully through discussion and dialogue. Bangladesh acknowledges Myanmar as a friend and neighbour; it wants cooperation of the international community.”

“Rohingya children are being deprived of education. It’s going to be heavy in the long run,” he said.

“We are trying to use all the resources at our disposal to address the crisis. We have expressed our commitment to stand by Bangladesh,” Norwegian ambassador to Bangladesh, Sidsel Bleken, told The Independent.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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