China assures Bangladesh on Rohingya repatriation


China has assured Bangladesh of facilitating the return of Rohingya refugees as Dhaka sought Beijing’s active support in expediting the process of early repatriation of the displaced Myanmar nationals.

The assurance came during bilateral talks between Foreign Minister of Bangladesh AH Mahmood Ali and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held in Beijing on Friday.

During the meeting, Mr. Ali briefed the Chinese side on the status of the 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals, the Rohingyas, who have taken temporary shelter in Bangladesh.

“The displaced Rohingyas are so traumatized that they want solid security guarantee for their return. They want to return to their original villages and not to any camps; they must be accorded opportunities to earn their livelihood,” Bangladesh’s foreign minister explained.

The minister sought China's active support for expediting the process of early repatriation of these displaced people by encouraging Myanmar in creating a conducive environment in the Rakhine state for return and resettlement of these people, a statement, issued by the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh, said.

It also said the Chinese foreign minister affirmed full support of China in realizing early repatriation of the displaced people to Rakhine and improve the resettlement environment in Rakhine by helping them build houses and creating economic opportunities.

Bangladesh Ambassador to China M. Fazlul Karim was present among others during the meeting.

Mr. Ali is visiting Beijing from June 28-30 at the invitation of the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi.

The bilateral meeting was followed by a joint press briefing and a lunch hosted by the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China in honour of Bangladesh foreign minister. 

Later Chinese foreign minister invited Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali to an informal meeting where Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister of the State Counsellor's Office of Myanmar, who is now on a trip to China,  joined. 

They exchanged views and shared ideas on early repatriation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the statement added.

Since August 25 last year, more than 700,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh from Rakhine to escape a brutal military crackdown. The United Nations, the United States and others have termed the atrocities “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Bangladesh and Myanmar were engaged in a process of preparations with the UN agencies for starting repatriation of Rohingyas. 

The two governments have signed three instruments since November 23, 2017, for the return of Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh after October 2016, as the Rohingya exodus from Rakhine State continued.

Bangladesh and Myanmar governments signed two memorandums of understanding with UN agencies to ensure voluntariness of the returnees and facilitate a safe and dignified return to Rakhine State.

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