China, Russia for deeper engagement

UN probe team visits camps

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 01:10, Nov 21,2019


China and Russia on Wednesday separately expressed intent to make deeper engagement in implementing the bilateral agreements between Bangladesh and Myanmar for peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Chinese ambassador Li Jiming and Russian ambassador Alexander I Ignatov expressed their eagerness to this end in separate meetings with foreign minister AK Abdul Momen at the foreign ministry in Dhaka, according to diplomatic sources.

The meeting between Momen and Jiming was a follow up of installation of a tripartite mechanism among Bangladesh, China and Myanmar at the level of foreign ministers to monitor and assess on-the-ground preparations for repatriation of the Rohingyas.

Momen, in the meeting, wanted to know about steps undertaken by the Chinese authorities with Myanmar to make the tripartite mechanism fruitful, as the Myanmar side was buying time on different excuses in creating environment conducive for repatriation of the religious minority community.

The Bangladesh side was informed that the Chinese officials were working for peaceful solutions under bilateral arrangements set by Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Ambassador Ignatov, in his meeting with the foreign minister, expressed keenness of Russia to help both Bangladesh and Myanmar for solutions to the Rohingya crisis.

This meeting was also a follow up of a foreign minister-level meeting between Momen and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, a proponent of bilateral solutions to the Rohingya crisis, in Moscow in April and exchanges of diplomatic letters between the two ministers on the matter.  

The Bangladesh side expected that the Russians would actively engage with Myanmar for facilitating resumption of the repatriation process that had faltered twice since November last year.

Bangladesh, in a meeting at the UN Security Council, stressed strong efforts for reconciliation between returnee Rohingya people and members of the majority Buddhist community for permanent solutions to the crisis.

Bangladesh ambassador to the UN Masud Bin Momen raised the issues while addressing an open debate at the UNSC on the role of reconciliation in maintaining international peace and security, held at the UNHQs in New York on Tuesday.

Referring to various successful models of reconciliation, Masud urged Myanmar to adopt clearly defined reconciliation strategies through a whole-of-society approach and by ensuring transparency and objectivity in the reconciliation process.

FM Momen held the meetings with the ambassadors as the Myanmar government expressed its worries about severe damage to its international image due to efforts to prosecute the country and its leadership in different international courts.

Myanmar’s image has been ‘severely damaged internationally,’ Zaw Htay, spokesman of the Myanmar government said in his response to a series of international rights group’s efforts to prosecute the country and its leadership at the International Criminal Court, the UN’s

International Court of Justice and a court in Argentina last week, according to a report of The Irrawaddy in Yangon published on November 16. 

A delegation of the UN Independent Investigation Mechanism for Myanmar conducted its first mission to the region with visiting Rohingya camps in Bangladesh for nearly a week starting from November 9, according to a press release of the Myanmar Mechanism.

Myanmar Mechanism chief Nicholas Koumjian said the mission was investigative in nature and ‘it will relay on and work with authorities from national and international courts to pursue prosecutions,’ according to a press released published from Geneva on November 18. 

More than 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh after fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.

The UNHCR and the government failed in their first attempt for sending the first batch of Rohingyas on November 15 last year as nobody agreed to go back with referring to absence of environment for return in Rakhine.

The on-going Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 1.2 million according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh authorities.

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