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Rohingya repatriation deal inked
Naypyitaw (The Daily Star) -- Bangladesh and Myanmar have finally signed a deal on Rohingya repatriation with no specific deadline but with high hopes that the forcibly displaced Rohingyas will start returning to their homeland within the next two months.
The two neighbouring nations struck the deal following a meeting between Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in the morning at Suu Kyi’s office.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Myanmar’s Minister for State Counsellor’s office Kyauw Tint Swe signed the instrument.
They also exchanged ratification of boundary agreement 1998.
Minister Mahmood Ali made the disclosure of signing the ‘Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State’ after they reached a much-sought consensus on the Rohingya repatriation.
Ali’s meeting with Suu Kyi began at 10:00am (Myanmar time) and it lasted for 45 minutes.
Over 622,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border and taken shelter in Cox’s Bazar district since August 25 amid persecution by Myanmar military in their Rakhine State.
Referring to the influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a programmeme on the outskirts of Dhaka on Thursday that these Myanmar nationals are a burden on Bangladesh and urged Myanmar to start their repatriation soon.
Bangladesh in its senior officials meeting here on Wednesday raised the issue of keeping a provision for a timeframe over completion of the Rohingya repatriation, a senior official told UNB.
Bangladesh also sought involvement of the international community, including the UN agencies in verification process.
Myanmar did not meet Bangladesh’s full expectation on the repatriation timeframe as it only agrees on starting time but not the ending point, a senior diplomat told UNB.
“We’ve agreed on many things though our expectation is not met fully. It’s not possible in any negotiations,” he said wishing to remain unnamed.
Another diplomat said Myanmar wants to start the repatriation within the next two months once the deal is signed.
He said Bangladesh wants to end the Rohingya repatriation by one year though Myanmar keeps it as an open-end one without giving any specific timeframe for completion.
On involvement of UN agencies in repatriation process, Myanmar shows a bit soft position but nothing will be legally-binding one, an official told UNB.
Bangladesh and Myanmar, however, agreed on formation of joint working group at foreign-secretary level to start the repatriation process of all Rohingyas.
“We had a good discussion on Wednesday. We hope to sign the deal on Thursday. It’s now at the final stage,” Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told UNB at hotel lobby after a meeting with Myanmar’s Minister for State Counsellor’s office Kyauw Tint Swe on Wednesday night.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh Ambassador to Yangon M Sufiur Rahman and representatives from Home Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office also attended the meeting on Wednesday.

(Latest Update
November 24,

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