Bangladesh, Myanmar strike deal on Rohingya repatriation

23 Nov 2017


Myanmar and Bangladesh today signed an 'Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State' raising the prospect of repatriation of Rohingyas to start within the next two months.

The deal was struck following a meeting between Bangladesh foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at Suu Kyi's office in the morning.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and Myanmar's minister for State Counsellor's office Kyauw Tint Swe signed the instrument.

They also exchanged ratification of boundary agreement 1998.

The deal, under which Myanmar and the Rohingya rebels will observe ceasefire before repatriation of refugees begin and talks on a long-term solution will start, was first announced by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi after his visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar over the weekend.

The deal to resolve the crisis in a three-step process sponsored by China, however, did not find many takers. The United States has cast doubts over the Chinese assertion that both Bangladesh and Myanmar have endorsed its plan to resolve the ''complicated'' Rohingya refugee crisis.

A senior Trump administration official told reporters during a conference call that Myanmar's government and security forces must respect human rights of all persons within its borders and hold accountable those who fail to do so.

On the repatriation of refugees, the official said that both Myanmar and Bangladesh are close to reaching an agreement on a process for voluntary repatriations of displaced persons.

Bangladesh is reported to have raised the issue of keeping a provision for a timeframe over completion of the Rohingya repatriation.

Bangladesh also sought involvement of the international community, including the UN agencies in verification process.

Myanmar, however, did not meet Bangladesh's expectation on the repatriation timeframe and only agreed to a starting time, UNB quoted a senior diplomat as saying.

Over 622,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border and taken shelter in Cox's Bazar district since August 25 amid persecution by Myanmar military in their Rakhine State.

Referring to the influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a programme on the outskirts of Dhaka on Thursday that these Myanmar nationals are a burden on Bangladesh and urged Myanmar to start their repatriation soon.

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