‘UNHCR will be involved over Rohingya crisis’: Foreign Minister

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Dhaka, November 25: Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Saturday said Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to take assistance from the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, in the process of repatriating the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to their homeland.“The signing of the arrangement is an initial step…there are more steps. Both sides agreed to take assistance from the UNHCR in the Rohingya repatriation process,” he said.

The foreign minister came up with the remarks while briefing reporters on his recent Myanmar visit at UNCLOS Conference Room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

AH Mahmood Ali added: “Myanmar will take its assistance as per their requirement.”

“The two sides agreed to start the repatriation process within next two months and the process will be completed within a reasonable time,” he said.

On November 30, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed ‘Arrangement’ on Return of displaced Myanmar persons sheltered in Bangladesh in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali MP signed the bilateral instrument andU Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister signed the instrument on behalf of the respective governments at the State Counselor’s Office.

The bilateral instrument was being negotiated by officials of the two countries for the last couple of months.

On November 22, the senior officials of both countries negotiated the draft at their level. Later in afternoon, Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali and the Union Minister U Kyaw Tint Swe resolved the remaining issues and finalized the draft after discussion.

The ‘Arrangement’ stipulates that the return shall commence within two months. A Joint Working Group will be established within three weeks of signing the ‘Arrangement’.

A specific bilateral instrument (physical arrangement) for repatriation will be concluded in a speedy manner.