Bangladesh still has confidence in China over Rohingya repatriation: Foreign Minister | The Daily Star
06:32 PM, February 03, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:39 PM, February 03, 2021

Bangladesh still has confidence in China over Rohingya repatriation: Foreign Minister

Bangladesh has confidence in China that it will continue to help repatriate the Rohingyas, despite the fact that the veto power at the UN Security Council on Tuesday blocked a Council statement condemning the military coup in Myanmar.

Also, Bangladesh has secured the border to prevent any Rohingya influx as feared by some of the Western countries or rights bodies.

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"We still have confidence in China. We maintain friendship with all. China and Japan have advanced. China's progress [on repatriation talks], to some extent, is on the way to implementation," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters at his office yesterday.

The comment comes a day after China blocked the UN Security Council statement condemning the military coup in Myanmar and warned that sanctions or international pressure following the coup would only make things worse. 

Both Russia and China have protected Myanmar against criticism at the UN regarding military crackdown on the Rohingya population in 2017 when some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a military crackdown that has been termed by rights bodies a genocide. Myanmar faces a genocide case at the International Court of Justice.

Three years after the influx, no Rohingya refugee has returned to Myanmar, saying there is no guarantee of safety, citizenship and basic rights back in Rakhine state. China, which has always wanted a bilateral solution, has been mediating the repatriation process and a tripartite meeting at DG level was scheduled Thursday.

Foreign Minister Momen said Dhaka has not been able to establish contact with Myanmar authorities in Naypyidaw. Therefore, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been trying to contact the Chinese and Myanmar ambassadors in Dhaka, but as of this afternoon it was not confirmed if a meeting was confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar military took control of the country, which gave rise to fears that the repatriation will be delayed.

"We want to continue the [repatriation] process. We had an agreement with the government, not any person in Myanmar. Earlier in the 1980s and 90s, we had repatriated Rohingyas when there was a military regime.

"It is a scope for Myanmar to make repatriation happen. If they do it, all others will be with them," the foreign minister said.

He also said Bangladesh has secured the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to make sure that any Rohingya influx does not happened, as there are fears from Western countries that there could be an influx due to the return of military regime in Myanmar.

"Earlier in 2017 when Rohingyas were persecuted, our people welcomed them. Now our people don't want them. We have secured our border. Let others accept them if Rohingyas flee their country, but we don't want to accept them," he said.

Asked if Bangladesh is condemning the military coup in Myanmar or welcoming the new regime, the foreign minister said, "Myanmar is our neighbour. We believe in democratic values. So, we also want the democratic values, peace and stability to prevail in Myanmar."

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