• Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dhaka's effort for good ties gets a blow

Diplomatic Correspondent

The recent attack on Bangladeshi border guards by Myanmar troops may adversely affect Dhaka's move to forge a good relationship through dispelling distrust between the neighbouring countries.
Dhaka has recently taken a number of steps to resolve the Rohingya issue, diffuse tension between the border guards of the two nations and improve trade and other exchanges, diplomatic sources said.
During her visit to Myanmar last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally offered financial assistance and expertise to assist it in resolving the Rohingya problem.
Bangladesh also proposed holding dialogues for enhancing security of both countries through cooperation. Presently there is no structured security cooperation. In fact, the Myanmar border force does not cooperate with its Bangladeshi counterpart, foreign ministry sources said.
To reduce tension between the border guards of the two nations, Dhaka last year suggested signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to hold regular dialogues on security issues.
This proposal was tabled at a foreign secretary-level meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar.
The Sheikh Hasina-led administration also sought to import electricity from Myanmar in 2012.


But so far Myanmar has not given any concrete response to these proposals.
Sources expressed the hope that the recent border tension would not affect the upcoming Dhaka visit of the Myanmar deputy minister for foreign affairs on June 18 or the visit of the chief of Border Guard Bangladesh to Myanmar from June 9 to 18.
The Myanmar deputy minister is scheduled to hold the Bangladesh-Myanmar Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) with the Bangladesh foreign secretary to discuss how to solve various bilateral problems.
The foreign ministry has been working over the past one year to persuade the Myanmar authorities to create space for dialogues to build trust between the two countries.
Bangladesh and Myanmar have been exchanging visits at the top political, civil and military levels.
Chiefs of the Bangladesh army, air force and navy have already paid separate visits to Myanmar while the Myanmar naval chief has visited Dhaka and its air chief is expected to come to Dhaka soon.
In order to win the trust of Myanmar, the government also allowed a Myanmar frigate to cross the Naaf river for the first time last year to go to the other part of the country. The frigate stayed in the Myanmar waters bordering Cox's Bazar for a month and went back.
Officials at the foreign ministry said Bangladesh had been making all kinds of positive gestures as the prime minister directed them “to build the best possible relationship with Myanmar.”

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, June 01, 2014

Last modified: 9:02 pm Sunday, June 01, 2014

TAGS: Dhaka Myanmar Bangladeshi border guards Rohingya issue diplomatic sources Myanmar border force Bangladesh-Myanmar Foreign Office Consultation (FOC)

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