Myanmar ‘lying’ about Rohingyas: FM

Special Correspondent
Myanmar government has engaged itself in spreading disinformation on the repatriation of Rohingya people from Bangladesh, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said at a diplomatic briefing in Dhaka on Wednesday.
‘The reports Myanmar is producing are completely false and fabricated,’ Momen said while giving an update on Myanmar.
The briefing came on the heels of some comments by one of Myanmar’s ministers.
‘On a recent visit to Japan, a Myanmar minister blamed Bangladesh for the lack of progress in Rohingya repatriation and claimed that non-cooperation by the Bangladesh side is affecting the process,’ Momen told journalists after the briefing.
Myanmar was supposed to create an environment in the Rakhine State conducive to the return of the refugees, but did nothing instead, the minister said.
He also added that the Bangladesh side did not find any new development during the last joint commission meeting, therefore, not a single displaced Rohingya could be repatriated from Bangladesh. Bangladesh sincerely wanted Myanmar to take back its citizens while Myanmar has repeatedly been ducking out of promises, said Momen.
The responsibility of convincing the prospective returnees rests entirely on Myanmar, as per the bilateral instruments, he said, adding that Myanmar’s decision to impose National Verification Cards on the returnees ‘remains a huge barrier to voluntary repatriation.’
The foreign minister also urged the international community to ramp up pressure on Myanmar so that it created a congenial environment for early repatriation of the displaced group in safety and dignity.
He said he sought comprehensive engagements and decisive actions from the international community.
When asked what kind of pressure the Bangladesh authorities wanted the international community to create on Myanmar, Momen said the countries would make their sovereign decision in this regard.
In reference to prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s forthcoming visit to China in the first week of July, Momen said Bangladesh government would tell the Chinese authorities that their [Chinese] interests would be hampered if uncertainty prevailed and peace and discipline couldn’t be restored.
Over forty ambassadors, high commissioners and mission chiefs of different foreign embassies in Dhaka were present at the briefing.
Referring to the Palestine crisis, Palestine ambassador in Dhaka Yousef Ramaday raised a question about the utility of the international pressure in resolving the Rohingya crisis. ‘Palestine crisis is yet to be overcome in spite of engagement of the international community for over 70 years,’ he said in the meeting, according to an ambassador.
Iranian ambassador in Dhaka Mohammad Reza Nafar said the international community ‘requires to take concrete actions’ instead of making commitment only.
Diplomats from the United Kingdom, Brazil and Switzerland also spoke on the occasion which was attended by senior foreign ministry officials.

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