Bangladesh-Myanmar maritime talks snagged

April 2nd, 2008 - 11:56 am ICT by admin  

Dhaka, April 2 (IANS) Bangladesh’s talks with Myanmar on demarcation of their maritime boundary have hit a snag, compounding its economic woes in the Bay of Bengal, where it is unable to reach an accord with India. The two-day technical meeting here of Bangladesh and Myanmar on the delimitation of maritime boundary ended inconclusively as the parties failed to narrow down their differences on a number of issue, including the process of demarcation in the Bay of Bengal and unimpeded passage for Myanmar in the Naf river.

“Myanmar proposed a joint survey on the maritime boundary delimitation which is not acceptable to us as the area in the sea is internationally recognised as part of Bangladesh,” a source told the New Age newspaper after the meeting Tuesday evening.

Additional Foreign Secretary M.A.K. Mahmood led an 18-member Bangladesh delegation to the talks and Muang Oo Lwin led a 10-member Myanmar delegation.

Its prospects of gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal adversely affected, Bangladesh has indicated that it may approach the UN.

“We hope to provide the United Nations with the data in favour of our claims earlier than the deadline of 2011,” an unnamed official told the newspaper.

While India, Myanmar and Bangladesh have not demarcated their waters in the Bay of Bengal, New Delhi and Yangon have agreed on an equidistant boundary allowing both to explore gas in the bay.

Bangladesh is still preparing its case for gas exploration, but has not been able to invite tenders for block bidding because the maritime boundary has not been demarcated.

The talks came even as India and Myanmar held a top-level dialogue in New Delhi on setting up a gas pipeline bypassing Bangladesh and linking of roads and river ports.

As the Dhaka meeting ended inconclusively, both the countries hope to sit again sometime in June in Myanmar to resolve the technical issues to pave the way for a decision.

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