Bangladesh’s president and prime minister had one message for the outgoing Myanmar ambassador: tell your country to work toward repatriating Rohingya refugees.
Myanmar ambassador Myo Myint Than met with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina separately in Dhaka on May 11, according to a government press release.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have long sought shelter in neighboring Bangladesh. But Bangladesh’s president said the “repeated exoduses” have imposed a strain on the impoverished nation.
The UN estimates close to 100,000 Rohingya were among the recent swell of arrivals in the wake of the October 9 crackdown. They joined another 300,000 to 500,000 Rohingya refugees sheltering in camps around Cox’s Bazar.
Both countries should engage in discussions about a process to repatriate them to Myanmar, said the president.
"Bangladesh has been bearing the brunt of repeated exoduses of Rakhine Muslims into Bangladesh," President Abdul Hamid said at the Bangabhaban meeting in Dhaka.
Similarly, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the outgoing Myanmar ambassador to convey to his government that a repatriation timeline must be identified, the prime minister’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim, said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Myanmar Ambassador Myo Myint Than at Gono Bhaban
"Together we should find a solution to resolve the issue and as a neighbor we always want to resolve the issue through dialogue," the prime minister reportedly said.
The outgoing Myanmar ambassador said his government is serious about resolving the Rohingya issue and has already agreed to implement interim recommendations suggested by the commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan.
However, the Myanmar government has recently come under fire for refusing to cooperate with a UN Human Rights Council probe to investigate allegations of rape, extrajudicial murder and torture of Rohingya in northern Rakhine State.
Via the outgoing ambassador, the prime minister also extended an invitation to Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to visit Bangladesh.