Bangladesh urges Myanmar to repatriate Rohingya Muslim refugees

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged Myanmar's government to help persecuted Rohingya Muslims go back to their homes after thousands of refugees from the minority group crossed into Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar.

Hasina made the request while meeting with Myanmar's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister U Kyaw Tin in Dhaka, spokesman Ihsanul Karim said.

Prior to the meeting, Tin held a dialogue with Bangladeshi top diplomat Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali.

No additional details on the two bilateral talks were made public. Myanmar has so far not responded on the possible repatriation of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh.

Hasina laid emphasis on permanently resolving the refugee crisis through discussion. She also assured Myanmar's minister that Bangladesh would never allow anyone to use its land for acts of terrorism against any neighbours, Karim said.

The spokesman added that Hasina expressed her willingness to further strengthen ties between the two countries and invited Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Bangladesh.

Tin also expressed a wish for closer ties and cooperation with Bangladesh, the spokesman said.

Tin proposed setting up a border liaison office for exchange of information between the border forces of the two countries.

Officials from Dhaka and Naypyidaw held discussions earlier on the Rohingya Muslims, who have fled by the thousands to Bangladesh after facing persecution in neighbouring Myanmar.

Bangladesh called on Myanmar to take back all Rohingya Muslims who have been living in Bangladesh for years. They termed Rohingya "Myanmar citizens" and sought a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue, an official said.

They also focused on the recent influx of Rohingya, as more than 50,000 of them crossed the border into Bangladesh after the Myanmar army launched counterinsurgency sweeps in the northern state of Rakhine in October.

Tin's spokesperson Kyaw Zeya told dpa the two would "discuss more than only the Rakhine border issue."

Rights groups accuse the Myanmar army of committing arson, murder and rape against the Rohingya Muslims.

More than 29,000 documented Rohingya refugees have been living in two squalid camps in the Bangladeshi district of Cox's Bazar since the 1990s.

The number of undocumented Rohingya living in Bangladesh is estimated to stand at somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000.

Last update: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 21:10

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