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Sunday, August 31, 2014, Bhadra 16, 1421, Zilqad 4, 1435 Hijr

BD-Myanmar meet begins today in city, Dhaka to press for repatriation of Rohingya refugees
Special Correspondent
Publish Date : 2014-08-31,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 90
Bangladesh will seek a timeline for repatriation of the documented 32,000 Rohingya refugees during the day-long confidence building meet with Myanmar which will begin in the capital Dhaka today (Sunday).
Secretary level eighth Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) meet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will attempt to pursue Myanmar in confidence building process, official sources confirmed on Saturday.
A seven-member Myanmar delegation led by U Thant Kyaw, Deputy Foreign Minister (status of Foreign Secretary) had arrived on Thursday night on a five-day official visit. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque will lead the 10-member Bangladesh side at the consultation.
Bangladesh is expected to urge Myanmar to take immediate action to repatriate an estimated 32,000 documented Myanmar nationals (Rohingya) located in two international refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.
The officials will not raise the issue of another 3 lakh to 5 lakh undocumented Myanmar nationals living illegally inside Bangladesh until a national census determines their nationality and the total number of Rohingyas in the country, sources said.
The disagreement with Myanmar officials is with the definition of "undocumented" Rohingya refugees, official remarked.
Tensions in Myanmar's Rakhine province forced thousands of Muslim Rohingyas to flee into Bangladesh which became the main irritant in Dhaka-Naypyidaw relations. Regrettably, Myanmar does not acknowledge them as its citizens, said a senior foreign official.
Recently, the parliamentary committee attached to the foreign ministry identified 'mutual lack of trust' as the key deterrent to dispute resolution between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Bangladesh is likely to propose an umbrella strategy to coordinate security, development, trade and shipping, officials said.
Specifically the multi-disciplinary agenda for discussion would also focus on Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP) bilateral trade, coastal shipping, Civil Aviation, energy exploration, exploiting marine resources, multi-modal connectivity, and natural gas export through pipeline.
The FOC is expected to finalise the establishment of a border liaison office, initiate a security dialogue and the Myanmar's President Thein Shen state visit to Bangladesh.
Dhaka will discuss the issue of gas import from the Shwe Gas Field in Rakhine state during the official talks. Bangladesh is preparing to negotiate with other stakeholders like Myanmar, India, China and Daewoo of South Korea for importing gas, the official said.
The FOC will discuss Bangladesh proposal for construction of  25 kilometres road to connect Taungbro to Bawalibazar which will enable to establish a corridor from Kunming to Kolkata, linking Mandalay in Myanmar as well as Dhaka and Chittagong.
However, Myanmar is yet to respond to the proposal.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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