Bangladesh, Myanmar in talks on Rohingya repatriation deal
November 19 2017 05:46 PM
Rohingya
Rohingya walk towards a refugee camp after crossing the border in Anjuman Para near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on Sunday.

Reuters/Dhaka

* Dhaka's foreign minister to have talks in Myanmar this week
* Hopes for bilateral deal on returning Rohingyas to Myanmar
* Myanmar earlier accused Bangladesh of delaying any deal
* Over 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar military crackdown 

Bangladesh is in negotiations with Myanmar aimed at a deal to repatriate displaced Rohingya and Dhaka's foreign minister will address the matter at talks in Myanmar this week, the Bangladeshi foreign ministry said on Sunday.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since late August, driven out by a military operation in Buddhist majority Myanmar's Rakhine State. The Rohingyas' suffering has caused an international outcry.
"Bangladesh and Myanmar are in the process of negotiation for a bilateral agreement for repatriation of displaced people and expect to form a Joint Working Group to facilitate the repatriation," said a ministry statement, quoting remarks by Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali at a meeting with his Japanese counterpart in Dhaka on Sunday.
A senior aide to Ali said he would leave for Myanmar late on Sunday to attend an Asia-Europe (ASEM) meeting on Monday and Tuesday and would stay on another couple of days for bilateral talks on the Rohingya.
The official said Ali hoped for an agreement on allowing Rohingya to return to Myanmar. "Both countries have almost reached an understanding on this issue and there are a few points (still) to be agreed ... We hope to reach an agreement."
There was no immediate comment from Myanmar. On November 1, Myanmar insisted it was ready to set up a repatriation process but voiced fears Bangladesh was delaying an accord to first get international aid money. A senior Bangladesh home ministry official described the accusation as outrageous.
Ethnic cleansing allegations
Stung by international criticism and accusations of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has said Rohingyas who can prove they were resident in Myanmar would be accepted back.
Last week a United Nations General Assembly committee called on Myanmar to end military operations that have "led to the systematic violation and abuse of human rights" of Rohingya.
The move revived a UN resolution that was dropped last year due to Myanmar's progress on human rights.
However, in the past three months there has been a Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh.
Rohingyas have been denied citizenship in Myanmar, where many Buddhists see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
A US congressional delegation, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of Germany, Sweden and Japan visited Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar at the weekend to raise awareness of their plight.
"We support Bangladesh's efforts towards a lasting solution, including the repatriation of displaced persons," Japan's Taro Kona told Ali at their meeting, where Tokyo pledged $18.6mn in aid to ease the Rohingya crisis.
Mogherini told reporters: "More than putting pressure, our approach has always been and will continue to be to offer a negotiating space, encourage the taking care of a situation that is not going to disappear." 



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