EU hopeful of Bangladesh-Myanmar Rohingya repatriation deal

European Union high representative Federica Mogherini visits the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday.– AFP file photo

European Union high representative Federica Mogherini on Monday expressed her hope that Bangladesh and Myanmar would reach a decision to sign MoU and agreement on safe repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to their homeland Myanmar.

‘There is a real possibility Myanmar and Bangladesh reaching a MoU and an agreement for the safe repatriation of refugees (Rohingyas),’ she told a small group of reporters including UNB correspondent after photo session with ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Foreign Ministers.

She said the EU is supporting this process and will stand ready to accompany this process in the coming week.

In the morning the EU top diplomat had informal meetings with some ministers on the situation in Rakhine State.

‘That was extremely encouraging. We discussed the need to start implementing the Annan Commission Report,’ she said adding that she is very encouraged by ‘willingness and readiness’ of the Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi going that direction.

The European Union and its member states are delivering more than half of the total financial support to the Rohingyas, and they said they will continue to support them, as well as the government of Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh.

‘It is, I think, a responsibility of the authorities to find solutions. Again, the international community has indicated some of the solutions, especially the Kofi Annan plan that Aung San Suu Kyi has committed to implement, and we are there to support her in doing this,’ said the EU top diplomat during her Bangladesh visit prior coming to Myanmar.

The Bangladesh government is now negotiating with the Myanmar government on repatriation issue.

The EU is trying to help the two countries to find a sustainable solution.

Minutes before opening session of the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting, the EU diplomat said they are here to discuss economic cooperation, climate change, peace and security issues in the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting.

‘We are partners. I believe these two days will represent strengthening our partnership between Europe and Asia,’ she said.

The EU high representative said they will also discuss some of the current priorities in terms of security, DPRK situation and Rohingya issues.

In the opening session, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the world is facing instability and conflict in part because illegal immigration spreads terrorism that comes as her country is accused of violently pushing out hundreds of thousands of unwanted Rohingya Muslims.

Suu Kyi did not directly mention the Rohingya exodus in her speech to welcome European and Asian foreign ministers in Naypyitaw, the capital of Myanmar.

But her speech highlighted the views of many in Myanmar who see the Rohingya as illegal immigrants and blame the population for terrorist acts.

Suu Kyi said conflicts around the world gave rise to new threats and emergencies, citing how illegal immigration spread ‘terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war.’

Though silent about the protracted Rohingya crisis, State Counsellor and union minister of foreign affairs Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday called for a new and stronger partnership among countries in Asia and Europe for the maintenance and promotion of peace and sustainable development through collective efforts.

‘We must continue to nurture partnership to create new connections — not just between governments but also across the private sectors and civil societies and of course people to people,’ said Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, widely criticised over Rohingya issue.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali is leading Bangladesh delegation in the ASEM meeting.

Earlier on Sunday, Suu Kyi held a meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.

Suu Kyi, during the meeting, said Myanmar values China’s understanding of the Rakhine issue which is much complicated and delicate.

The three sectors or points proposed by the Chinese foreign minister go in line with the view of Myanmar, she said.

‘Myanmar’s insistence on the rule of law is for stability and ceasing conflicts. Myanmar is desirous of solving the issue through bilateral talks with Bangladesh,’ she was quoted as saying in a statement issued by Myanmar State Counsellor Office.

Suu Kyi said development and poverty alleviation is the hope and goal of the government not only for Rakhine State but also for the entire country.

‘China’s assistance as a friend in need amidst the many problems is so much encouraging for Myanmar. May there be eternal friendship between the eternal neighbors China and Myanmar,’ she said.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said China’s hope for Myanmar is its peace and stability which is divided into three sectors.

‘China has listened to the voices of Myanmar and Bangladesh. China hopes further talks between the two countries,’ he said.

Source: News Age.


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