The government is arranging a high-profile visit of all ambassadors, high commissioners and chargés d'affaires, stationed in Bangladesh, to different temporary and permanent shelters of the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday, reports UNB.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, during a diplomatic briefing at the Padma state guest house, laid out the plans of the trip, which in his words: “ …. [the trip will] help them see for themselves the challenges and humanitarian crisis Bangladesh is facing due to the fresh influx of over 300,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar in the face of persecution in the neighbouring country.”
The Ambassadors, High Commissioners, chargés d'affaires from the diplomatic missions of Afghanistan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives were present at the briefing.
Mahmood Ali held two similar diplomatic briefings at the Padma state guest house on the Rohingya issue.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and other senior officials of the Foreign Ministry were also present at the briefing.
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Representatives from Myanmar are yet to be invited to such a meeting. The Bangladesh administration is yet to get any response from the Myanmar side either to resolve the crisis, confirms Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque.
Minister Mahmood Ali briefed the envoys about the current situation over the influx of Rohingya and apprised that over 300,000 Rohingya have already entered Bangladesh in the last two weeks.
He also mentioned that Bangladesh has already been hosting some 400,000 Rohingya for the last three decades and the total number of Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh has now crossed 700,000.
"This is creating a huge challenge for Bangladesh in terms of providing shelter as well as other humanitarian assistance to them," Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque quoted the minister as saying to reporters after the briefing.
Shahidul Haque also said Minister Mahmood Ali told the diplomats that Myanmar should urgently end the killing of Rohingya and the repression on them to stop their entry into Bangladesh.
"Myanmar can take back its citizens after ascertaining their nationality through verifications."
Shahidul said his boss highlighted that Bangladesh has always preferred having a bilateral solution to this longstanding problem and was successful in repatriating 236,599 Rohingya to their homeland through a bilateral agreement in 1992. He mentioned that the 1992 agreement recognised Rohingya as “members of Myanmar society.”
The foreign minister also highlighted Bangladesh's efforts to address the security concerns of Myanmar, particularly by proposing MoUs in 2014 on Border Liaison Office and Security Dialogue.
Minister Ali said Bangladesh has also proposed a joint inspection, coordinated border patrolling and a “joint operation” along the border.
"Unfortunately, Myanmar has not responded to these proposals. Rather, they've been running a malicious propaganda terming the Rohingya as 'illegal migrants from Bangladesh' and the attackers to their BGP posts as 'Bengali terrorists'," he said.
The foreign secretary said all the diplomats attending the briefing voiced deep concern over Bangladesh's additional burden and humanitarian crisis following the influx of the huge number of refugees.
He said they all assured Bangladesh of standing by it at this critical time and sharing the burden of refugees by providing necessary resources to host the Rohingya who have taken shelter here.
Replying to a question by the Chinese and Indian envoys, Shahidul said: "As China and India are our brotherly countries, they expressed solidarity with Bangladesh and assured us of staying with us to face the situation."
The foreign secretary, however, declined to make any comment when his attention was drawn to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support to Myanmar.