Bangladesh urges Myanmar to help repatriate Rohingya refugees

May 17th, 2009 - 1:10 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, May 16 (DPA) Bangladesh Saturday requested help from Myanmar in repatriating thousands of refugees who have been languishing in Bangladeshi camps for years, officials here said.
The move focuses on 22,000 Rohingyas, a minority Muslim group from Myanmar’s northern Rakhane state, in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni made the request for immediate repatriation during an official visit of Myanmar’s Foreign Minister, U Nyan Win, and Home Minister Major General Maung Oo.

The Rohingyas fled the country due to repression by the military dictators.

In a message received in Dhaka, Oo responded that “any refugee satisfying the criteria of identification would be repatriated”.

The Bangladesh minister said Dhaka would provide a list of Rohingya refuges to Yangon in consultation with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The UN agency has already prepared such a list.

According to media reports, more than 200,000 refugees have already integrated into Bangladeshi culture and are living in the country’s southeastern Cox’s Bazar district, bordering Myanmar.

Saturday’s discussions also focused on relaxation of the visa regime between the countries, maritime boundary delimitation, facilitation of the banking services, trade and commerce, a Bangladesh-Myanmar road link to China and border fencing.

A Bangladeshi foreign ministry statement said there had been an agreement on introduction of a direct air link between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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