ASEAN states call for safe return of Rohingya people

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DHAKA, Aug 4, 2018 (BSS) – Member states of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) raised their voice for the safe and sustainable return of Rohingya people who took refuge to Bangladesh fleeing violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

The 25th ASEAN Regional Forum meeting was held at Singapore Expo Convention Center today with Foreign Minister of Singapore Dr V Balakrishan in the chair, said a press release received here.

It said many ARF member states like Canada, the USA, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia raised their voice in support of the Rohingyas for their safe and sustainable return.

Foreign Ministers from 27 countries including Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and representative from EU attended the meeting.

The meeting was widely discussed various regional and international issues that includes recent diplomatic development between North Korea and United States for bringing peace in the Korean Peninsula, disputes in the South China Sea, situation the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar, trade disputes, maritime security, cyber crimes and connectivity.

Most of the countries in their statements highly praised Bangladesh for giving shelter to more than one million Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals, the release said.

Mahmood Ali briefed the forum that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the border of this distressed people out of humanitarian consideration. He mentioned that Rohingya problem is essentially political in nature which has its origin in Myanmar and its solution has to be found there.

The minister also emphasized on maintaining peaceful environment in Korean peninsula through constructive dialogue of the stakeholders.

Earlier, on the sidelines of the ARF Ministerial, Foreign Minister Ali met EU High Representative Fedrica Mogherini in the morning.

They discussed elaborately the latest situation in the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmer and the ongoing process of arrangement of repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali told that he would travel to Myanmar from 9 to 12 August 2018 to see for himself the progress of preparation of Myanmar for receiving Rohyngyas.

The EU High Representative told that they are expecting positive response from Myanmar regarding the agreement signed between Myanmar and UNDP and UNHCR for creating conducive environment in the Rakhine State so that the safe and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas may start soon.

She mentioned about her visit to the Rohingya Camps in Cox’s Bazar in November last year.

Mogherini assured Bangladesh Foreign Minister about EU’s readiness to assist both Bangladesh and Myanmar for successful implementation of the arrangement on repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals to their homeland.

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