US for diplomatic solution to Rohingya crisis

Bangladesh seeks sustained political pressure; actions on Myanmar

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Nov 06,2017 | Updated: 01:47, Nov 06,2017

 
 
Thomas A Shannon

US under secretary of state of political affairs Thomas A Shannon calls on the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in her official residence in Dhaka on Sunday. — Focusbangla photo

The US government on Sunday said it would pursue for diplomatic solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis before applying punitive measures including imposition of sanctions on the Myanmar government.
‘Our purpose here is to solve the problem, and, we are going to pursue a diplomatic solution to this problem until we can no longer pursue it,’ US under secretary of state for political affairs Thomas Shanon said at a press briefing in Dhaka.
He said this after co-chairing the sixth US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue in which foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh side.
When asked about the possibility of imposing sanctions by the US government, Thomas Shanon said the US authorities ‘have a variety of tools available’ to use as larger part of the pressure. ‘Our purpose is to solve the problem not to punish.’
He said the US government would engage with the governments in the region, international institutions and organisations including the UN on addressing the humanitarian crisis where Rohingyas ‘are suffering and look for ways’ to address the reasons for their fleeing.
Shanon observed that there ‘have been some positive movements’ including engagements between diplomats and other officials of Bangladesh and Burma on resolving Rohingya crisis.
The US was also engaged in the UN system about the matters, he added.
The two sides also discussed matters including security in the Indian Ocean region, combating transnational terrorist groups and matters relating to North Korea’s conduct, the US embassy said in a press release.
Bangladesh ‘is an anchor for stability’ in the region, he said appreciating the Bangladesh government’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The Bangladesh side, in the talks, underscored the vital importance of sustained political pressure and actions of all kind on the Myanmar government by the international community and particularly the US government for their early repatriation and permanently stopping the violence and removing the atmosphere of panic created by the Myanmar military and the local vigilante hate groups in Rakhine State.
Bangladesh underlined the fact that despite the claim from the Myanmar side that the violence has stopped, but people from Myanmar ‘are still crossing the border’ and coming to Bangladesh in hundreds and thousands everyday narrating stories of atrocities that are contributing to the continued influx of Rohingyas from the Rakhine State.
The US side also assured Bangladesh side of their continued political support and actions including financial assistance to address this man-made humanitarian catastrophe of nearly unmanageable magnitude.
Over 6,09,000 minority 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 November 5.
The ongoing influx took the total number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 10,28,000 till Sunday, according to estimates of UN agencies.
Governance situation in Bangladesh, matters relating to democratic environment and law and order situation also lightly came up in the meeting, an official said.  

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