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President urges Myanmar to settle Rohingya issue

President M Abdul Hamid. File photo

By The Daily Star

President Abdul Hamid yesterday urged the outgoing Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka Myo Myint Than to convey the message to his government to repatriate the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh has been bearing the brunt of repeated exodus of Rakhine Muslims into Bangladesh,” the President said when the ambassador made a farewell call on him at Bangabhaban in Dhaka last afternoon.

President’s Press Secretary Md Joynal Abedin briefed reporters after the meeting.

Noting that around 34,000 registered refugees have been waiting for repatriation, the President said around 2 lakh undocumented Myanmar nationals have also been living in makeshift shelters.

In addition, he said, around 76,000 Rohingyas took shelters in Bangladesh after October 2016 and they are huge burden for the country.

Both countries should start discussion on a process to repatriate them to Myanmar.

About the existing bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar, Hamid said Bangladesh always give emphasis on strengthening bilateral relations with neighbours.

He said the relations between the two countries are rooted in geographical proximity, shared history spanning over many centuries and commonalities in cultures and traditions.

About the global terrorism, the President said Bangladesh maintains zero tolerance to terrorism and militancy.

“Bangladesh does not allow armed groups or insurgents to use its territory against any neighbour. We are firm in our policy of respecting national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of other countries,” he added.

The President stressed the need for arranging exchange of visits at private and public levels between Bangladesh and Myanmar aiming to boost trade and investment in the two countries.

Myanmar Ambassador hoped that bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries will further extend in the days to come.

Secretaries concerned to the President were present.