Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The Burmese authorities have agreed to take back 9,000 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh soon, Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes said in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The assurance came at the fourth foreign secretary-level consultations between Bangladesh and Burma at the foreign minister in the capital Dhaka.
Visiting Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister Maung Myint, who was into foreign secretary level talks in Dhaka with the Bangladesh foreign secretary, agreed to take back the refugees shortly as Bangladesh handed over a list of 28,000 Burmese nationals.
Mr. Myint arrived in the capital on Monday leading a five-member delegation for the two-day foreign secretary-level talks that began in on Tuesday.
Mijarul Quayes told reporters the first day’s talks that the remaining registered refugees would also be repatriated after nationality verification by the Myanmar, formally known as Burma, authorities.
The foreign secretary said they raised the matter during the talks and put pressure on the Myanmar side to take them back as early as possible.
The Burmese side has no reservation to repatriate them back after verification of the nationality of these undocumented refugees, foreign ministry officials said.
Muslim people from Northern Arakan (Rakhine) state have been crossing into Bangladesh in large numbers since 1991 to escape persecution by the military junta in Myanmar.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) set up two camps in the country’s southeaster Cox’s Bazaar district to repatriate the Rohingya people.
More than 28,000 out of 500,000 Rohingya refugees registered in 1992 have been living in the camps.
During the talks, the Bangladesh side expressed willingness to import gas and electricity from Burma. The Burmese side responded positively to the Bangladesh proposal to set up a joint venture hydroelectric project on its rivers.
About import of gas, the Burmese side assured that the proposal would be considered if new gas field could be discovered, they added.
BBN/SS/SI/AD-30December09-1:52 pm (BST)