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Report: Malaysian Rohingya aid flotilla granted access to Teknaf wharf after initial refusal

  • Published at 11:23 pm February 3rd, 2017
  • Last updated at 11:58 pm February 3rd, 2017
Report: Malaysian Rohingya aid flotilla granted access to Teknaf wharf after initial refusal
An earlier Channel News Asia report, however, quoting a Malaysian foreign ministry statement issued on Friday, claimed that Bangladesh government denied the aid flotilla access to the wharf. Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman met with Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia Mohd Shahidul Islam on Friday to express "deep regret over the Bangladeshi government’s decision, given the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries," as reported by the Thailand-based news outlet. However, an updated report later claimed that the matter had been resolved after the meeting between the minister and the Bangladeshi envoy. An early Saturday morning (Malaysian Standard Time) statement issued by the Souteast Asian country's foreign ministry reads: "The matter has now been resolved as a result of the good relations between Malaysia and Bangladesh."
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According to the statement, Teknaf was the chosen destination as it is the nearest port to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who now number over 66,000.The flotilla was carrying over 2,200 tonnes of food and emergency supplies. There are 250 volunteers on board - including medics, doctors and members of Malaysian political parties UMNO and PAS. It was originally planned that the flotilla would dock at Sittwe, which is located in the conflict-stricken Rakhine state. However, the Myanmar government had refused to give the volunteers' access. Instead, the Myanmar administration had proposed that the flotilla made shore in Yangon to deliver the supplies, which the government would then distribute themselves. Volunteers binned the proposal. Bangladesh's Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by the Dhaka Tribune.