World

Myanmar proposes to take back Rohingya refugees

DHAKA A senior Myanmar minister proposed yesterday to take back the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled across the border after a military crackdown, Bangladesh said, but gave no details of how the huge task could be achieved.

More than half a million Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh over the last five weeks after militant attacks on police checkposts there sparked violent reprisals, with entire villages burnt to the ground.

Most are now living in desperate conditions in overcrowded camps in impoverished Bangladesh, which has repeatedly urged Myanmar to repatriate them.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali held talks in Dhaka with Myanmar's Minister of the Office of State Counselor Kyaw Tint Swe and said the two countries had agreed to set up a working group to coordinate the repatriation of the Rohingya.

"The talks were held in a friendly atmosphere and Myanmar has made a proposal to take back the Rohingya refugees," the minister said.

"The two sides have agreed to a proposal to set up a joint working group to coordinate the repatriation process."

The Bangladesh minister gave no time frame for repatriation and did not say whether Myanmar would also take back the 300,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh during earlier violence. He said the refugees would be verified by the joint working group, and the United Nations would not be involved.- AFP

bangladeshRefugeeMyanmar