BD delegation led by FM visits Maungdaw town in Rakhine

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Dhaka, August 11: A high-profile  Bangladesh delegation, led by Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, on Saturday visited Maungdaw, a town in Rakhine State of Myanmar, to see the situation there.Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and few members of joint working group accompanied the Foreign Minister. The delegation members left Sittwe for Maungdaw at noon.

Myanmar’s Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister Win Myat Aye were also with the Bangladesh delegation.

“Yes, the minister visited Maungdaw. They’re now returning to Sitttwe. We’re waiting for them,” Bangladesh Ambassador to Yangon Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury told UNB.

He said they will return to Yangon once Bangladesh delegation returns from Maungdaw.

The Bangladesh Embassy in Yangon is likely to share the outcome of the visit in the evening, an official told UNB.

Minister Ali began his four-day visit to Myanmar on Thursday to discuss progress on Rohingya repatriation with Myanmar leadership.

The Bangladesh delegation comprising members of joint working group formed earlier for the repatriation of Rohingyas living in Bangladesh are now in Myanmar to see what steps Myanmar has taken so far for creating a conducive environment to the safe return of Rohingyas.

Bangladesh and Myanmar on Friday agreed that Rohingyas residing in Cox’s Bazar themselves will fill the verification forms for their early repatriation.

As per the decision, the verification forms will be distributed among them and they will fill those, according to the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor, Myanmar.

Signatures, fingerprints, and photo IDs are to be completed when filling the forms to indicate voluntary return and assist with Myanmar’s verification process.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed that there should be early repatriation of Rohingyas who fled to Cox’s Bazar amid military crackdowns in Rakhine State.

Bangladesh has agreed to revise the language used in the ID cards being issued to those who are currently residing in Cox’s Bazar, the Myanmar side claimed.

They, in a ministerial meeting between Bangladesh and Myanmar held at Nay Pyi Taw, agreed that repatriation will be in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner.

In this regard, a hotline has been established between the ministers to facilitate ease of discussions.

The meeting was chaired by Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Myanmar’s Union Minister of the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe.

Union Ministers Thein Swe and Dr Win Myat Aye, officials concerned and delegates from both sides participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the implementation of the bilateral agreement, the ‘Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State’ signed between the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh in November 2017.

As agreed in the arrangement, Myanmar has built two reception centres and one transit camp. Bangladesh has confirmed progress on the five transit camps; one is complete, another under construction, and remaining three to be built.

Both parties agreed to intensify cooperation on counter-terrorism and the fight against drug trafficking through exchange of intelligence, closer cooperation between the border-guard officials and conducting enhanced coordinated border patrols.

They also agreed to cooperate on the issue of repatriation of Rohingyas currently residing along the international border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, in particular the area between the international border and the fence erected on Myanmar’s territory in an expeditious manner.

It was also agreed that any humanitarian aid given to those inhabiting the area on Myanmar’s territory should be given by the aid agencies from Myanmar side.

Both ministers reiterated their commitment for closer consultation in resolving the issue of displaced persons from Rakhine State in the spirit of good neighbourliness.

They also agreed to promote closer economic and trade relations of the interest of both the countries.

Source: UNB