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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

FM: Myanmar's internal conflict cannot be an excuse to delay Rohingya repatriation

  • 'They are citizens of Myanmar and have been there for hundreds of years'
  • ‘Donald Lu coming to Bangladesh to help take relations to new height’
Update : 12 May 2024, 11:02 PM

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud on Sunday said Myanmar's internal conflict, which was always there, cannot be an excuse for delaying the Rohingya repatriation.

Asked whether Rohingya repatriation is being delayed due to the conflict in Rakhine state, and whether the Arakan Army will play a role here, the foreign minister said, "Look, we engage with the government. We are talking with the government of Myanmar. It is also correct that Rohingya repatriation is delayed due to internal conflict there. But what we are talking about is that there has always been chaos in Myanmar," he told reporters."

Sharing the history of the last 70-80 years, Hasan said Myanmar has never been free from unrest, but that cannot be an excuse to not take back the Rohingyas who have been expelled from Myanmar.

"They are citizens of Myanmar and have been there for hundreds of years," he said.

Referring to the visit of the members of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs to the Rohingya camp, the foreign minister said that various problems have arisen due to the presence of the Rohingyas for a long time.

For example, he said, environmental problems caused by the Rohingyas, law and order problems, as well as many Rohingyas having been linked to Yaba and other drug trafficking and terrorist activities.

Saying that terrorist and fanatic groups are recruiting members from Rohingya camps, he said that not only problems are being created in the country, but also in the neighboring countries due to the spread of terrorist networks.

"I have spoken to the foreign minister of Myanmar about the repatriation of the Rohingyas and we are also in regular discussions with other countries, so as to apply pressure on Myanmar to take back their citizens with full rights," Hasan said.

The foreign minister said: "We are noticing that Myanmar always says they will take them back, but they have not taken back even one Rohingya in the last seven years."

In addition, he said, they see a new problem due to the internal conflict in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Around 500 members of the Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) and the country’s army personnel had fled to Bangladesh.

"We sent them back after talks with Myanmar, but 138 more have now fled to Bangladesh, including an army lieutenant colonel and two majors," said the foreign minister.

Regarding the next process involving them, the minister said they hope to be able to send them back in the same process, and Myanmar is also interested in taking them back.

Hasan said US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu is coming to further advance the relationship between the two countries.

Asked about Donald Lu's visit, the foreign minister said that Bangladesh's relationship with the US is stronger than at any time in the past.

US President Joe Biden said the same in his letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after the last national election, Hasan said.

US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu is coming to Bangladesh to take this relationship to a higher level, he said. "We will try to strengthen this relationship."

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