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FM: There is a trail of devastation in Rakhine State

  • Published at 07:03 pm August 11th, 2018
File photo of Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali Dhaka Tribune

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali is currently in Myanmar on a four-day visit

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, currently in Myanmar on a four-day visit, yesterday emphasized the need for accelerating efforts to create an environment conducive to repatriation in Myanmar for Rohingya refugees.

His visit is related to discussions regarding the repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees who have taken shelter in Bangladesh.

According to a Foreign Ministry statement, the minister saw a “trail of devastation” during his visit to Rakhine.

Myanmar Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister Win Myat Aye accompanied the Bangladesh delegation, which also included Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque.

Both sides agreed on the need for early resettlement of the displaced people currently staying at the boundary line (Zero line), between border pillars 34 and 35, to their original villages.

Myanmar requested Bangladesh stop providing humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNDP, and INGOs, proposing the arrangement of the supply of humanitarian assistance from Myanmar.

The two countries also discussed Myanmar's suggestion to jointly conduct a fresh survey of the zero line.

The Bangladesh delegation left Sittwe for Maungdaw at noon, and returned to Yangon through Sittwe, Bangladesh Ambassador to Yangon Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury told UNB.

The foreign minister was taken to the zero line, where a few thousand displaced Rohingyas have been staying on the Myanmar side and visited reception centres at Taung Pyo Let Yar and Nga Khu Ya, and the transit camp at Hla Poe Kaung. The transit camp has the capacity to support 30,000 people.

The foreign minister further visited Shwe Zar village, where 148 pre-fabricated houses for returning refugees are being built with assistance from the Government of India.

He also visited Pan Taw Pyin village, from where most of the 15,000 inhabitants had fled to Bangladesh.

Mahmood Ali was informed that Rohingya Muslims who had stayed behind were living there with their Buddhist and Hindu neighbours.

The Myanmar government has built 72 houses in the village - 22 houses for internally displaced people 50 for prospective returnees.

The foreign minister also visited Kaing Gyi village, which is inhabited by ethnic Rakhine and Mro people.

Earlier, he had a meeting with Union Minister of the Office of the State Counsellor of Myanmar Kyaw Tint Swe in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday, followed by a ministerial meeting between the two sides.

In the afternoon, the minister paid a courtesy call on Vice President of the Union of Myanmar Myint Swe.

At the bilateral meeting, various aspects and challenges concerning the repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees were discussed at length.

The two sides reached an understanding on the distribution of verification forms among the prospective returnees, as well as on the building of a reception centre on the Bangladesh side.

It was also agreed that a hotline between the two ministers will be set up.

In addition, Bangladesh requested that Myanmar take steps to address the unwillingness of prospective returnees to accept the National Verification Card (NVC).

Myanmar agreed to send teams to the camps in Cox's Bazar to explain the advantages of holding NVCs, and disseminate information on various steps taken by Myanmar for repatriation.

AH Mahmood Ali is set to leave Myanmar today.

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