Bangladesh-Myanmar talks tomorrow to set JWG, terms

News Desk: Bangladesh and Myanmar would hold foreign secretary-level talks tomorrow for establishing a joint working group and finalising terms-of-reference of the group to supervise all aspects of the return of Rohingyas to Rakhine State.
Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque would lead the Bangladesh side in the meeting with the Myanmar side, led by the country’s foreign ministry permanent secretary Myint Thu, in Dhaka. Myint Thu is set to reach Dhaka this evening.
Haque himself is likely to lead the joint working group from Bangladesh side in supervising repatriation of forcibly displaced minority Rohingyas who fled violence in Rakhine since October, 2016.
The Bangladesh and the Myanmar governments missed a deadline, December 14, to establish a JWG and agreeing terms-of-reference for supervising the return.
The two governments formally committed to establishing the JWG and agreeing terms-of-reference of the group, according to Article C(11) of the Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons From Rakhine State signed on November 23.
Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and Burmese minister at the state counsellor’s office Kyaw Tint Swe signed the instrument on behalf of the respective government in Nay Pyi Taw, the administrative capita of Myanmar.
Over 6,55,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing, between August 25 and December 15. Several international authorities denounced the operations as genocide.
The ongoing Rohingya influx took the total number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 10,74,000 till December 15, according to estimates by UN agencies.
The two sides also agreed to sign a specific bilateral instrument in ‘a speedy manner’ on physical arrangement for repatriation, which includes developing a mechanism for verification of Rohingyas who crossed over to Bangladesh from Myanmar, setting a time schedule, transport and logistic arrangements, reception procedure and communication system between both sides.
Both sides also agreed that the process of return should commence within two months from November 23 and ‘be completed within a reasonable time from the date the first batch of returnees is received’.
The arrangement was based on the joint statement signed by the foreign ministers of the two countries in 1992 and contained the general guiding principles and policy arrangements to systematically verify and receive the displaced persons from Rakhine State. Source: www.newagebd.net

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