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Bangladesh likely to seek Russian backing to resolve Rohingya crisis

Enforcing safe zone in Myanmar for Rohingyas


Mir Mostafizur Rahaman | Published: April 20, 2019 10:24:31 | Updated: April 20, 2019 14:21:16


More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh after the beginning of a brutal crackdown by Myanmar security forces on them on August 25, 2017 - Reuters photo used for representation

Bangladesh may seek Russia's help in resolving the Rohingya crisis during foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen's upcoming visit to Moscow next month.

His visit is likely to take place at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, a senior foreign ministry official told the FE on Friday.

Rohingya issue and cooperation in energy sector, among others, will top the agenda during the trip.

Sources said Dr Momen would seek Moscow's support for Dhaka's proposal to establish a safe zone for the Rohingya in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar.

Bangladesh feels that this will be a panacea to the crisis as the Rohingya have vehemently been refusing to return to their homeland fearing fresh persecution.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh after the beginning of a brutal crackdown by Myanmar security forces on them on August 25, 2017.

Foreign ministry officials said Bangladesh plans to woo the support of China and Russia for its proposal to create a safe area in Myanmar.

Myanmar has primarily opposed the idea of such a zone inside Rakhine, but it was learnt that they might accept the idea if the phrase 'safe zone' is changed.

Commenting on the issue, the foreign minister recently said Myanmar has objections to the term 'safe zone'.

"But we're trying to convince them that if safety cannot be ensured, Rohingya repatriation cannot be started," he told the FE.

"We've made it clear that we can't keep the Rohingya for long. And it is Myanmar's responsibly to take them back home."

"I, therefore, think they won't oppose the idea as we don't have any bad intentions," Dr Momen explained.

Two major powers Russia and China blocked a resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council against Myanmar on the Rohingya issue.

Dr Momen will try to convince the Russian leadership to take a practical step to end the crisis, officials said.

mirmostafiz@yahoo.com

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