Dhaka to press for road up to China with Yangon

October 7th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Oct 7 (IANS) Bangladesh is set to begin a survey on the proposed road link to China via Myanmar this month with the consent of Yangon, officials said. Its communications ministry has requested the foreign affairs ministry to seek the opinion of Myanmar authorities in this regard, the New Age newspaper said Tuesday, quoting an unnamed government official.

Dhaka would focus on having a road link to China through Myanmar and settling the maritime delimitation during bilateral talks with Myanmar’s Vice Senior General Maung Aye, who is paying a three-day visit to Bangladesh.

Myanmar will have to build a 120 km road from Bawlibazar to China border Kyautaw to that end. During the talks, Bangladesh will try to pursue the Myanmar delegates on this point.

“We’re looking forward to expediting the whole process while we talk,” Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said.

He added that Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, during his visit to China in September 2007, also laid emphasis on building a road between the two nations through Myanmar.

Chowdhury said maritime border demarcation would be an important feature at the bilateral talks. Bangladesh and Myanmar sat in April in Dhaka to discuss demarcation after a gap of 22 years.

The next maritime talk is scheduled to be held in Myanmar in January next year. The two countries cannot carry out offshore oil and gas exploration because of claim and counter-claim of the seabed of the Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh also has a sea border with India, with whom talks have recently been held to resolve the long-standing maritime border demarcation issue. All the talks, however, ended inconclusive.

However, the long-pending issue of repatriation of the Rohingya refugees, the Muslim tribals who have fled Myanmar following military crackdown, is not on the agenda, say foreign ministry officials.

The Rohingya influx has become a major concern for Bangladesh as approximately 30,000 refugees are residing in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong, in southern Bangladesh.

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