Myanmar offers to 'take back' Rohingyas from Bangladesh
Dhaka: Facing global flak, Myanmar on Monday proposed to take back the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, a media report said.
Kyaw Tint Swe, a Minister in the office of Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, made the proposal during talks with Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali here, Daily Star reported.
At the meeting that lasted for over an hour, both countries also agreed to form a joint working group to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Foreign Minister Ali, briefing media persons later, disclosed about Myanmar's proposal to take back its nationals.
"Talks were held in a peaceful manner," Minister Ali said after the meeting at state guest house Padma. "Myanmar proposed to take back the Rohingyas from Bangladesh.
According to him, both sides decided to form a joint working group soon which will draw up plans for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
Under international pressure, Aung San Suu Kyi, in her speech last month, had spoken of taking back the Rohingyas, but said Myanmar would conduct a process of verification.
At Monday's meeting, Bangladesh proposed signing a bilateral agreement for the repatriation process and handed over a draft to the Myanmar delegation, the Minister added.
Asked when the process might start, Ali said: "One meeting cannot solve all the issues. The joint working group has to be formed first. Both sides will propose names. We are moving it fast."
His reply to how long it would take to form the joint panel was: "Very soon."
Ali said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal will visit Myanmar soon, Dhaka Tribune reported.
"The Home Minister will discuss with the Myanmar government regarding border security and border management issue," he said adding that four Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed during the visit.
Home Minister Khan Kamal, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, state minister for foreign affairs, Foreign Secretary and other high officials attended the meeting.
Over half a million Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since the start of a military crackdown in the Myanmar border state of Rakhine.
The refugees have claimed that the Myanmar security forces are shooting at civilians, setting fire to their homes and raping Rohingya women.