Rohingya Repatriation: Bangladesh has confidence in China
Bangladesh has confidence in China that it will continue to help repatriate Rohingyas, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said yesterday.
He expressed optimism despite the fact that China on Tuesday exercised its veto power at the UN Security Council to block a statement condemning the military coup in Myanmar.
Talking to reporters at his office yesterday, the minister said, "We still have confidence in China. We maintain friendship with all. China and Japan have advanced. China has moved forward [regarding repatriation talks] a bit further. We take China into confidence."
Bangladesh has secured its border to prevent any possible Rohingya influx as feared by some Western countries and rights bodies, Momen added.
China told the UN Security Council that any sanctions or international pressure on Myanmar following the coup would only make things worse.
Both Russia and China have protected Myanmar against criticism at the UN regarding the military crackdown on the Rohingya population in 2017 when some 750,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh. Rights bodies had termed the crackdown a genocide.
Myanmar also faces a genocide case at the International Court of Justice.
More than three years after the influx, no Rohingya returned to Myanmar citing that there is no guarantee of safety, citizenship and basic rights in Rakhine State. China, which always wanted a bilateral solution, is mediating the repatriation process and a DG-level tripartite meeting, is scheduled for today.
Foreign Minister Momen said Dhaka could not establish contact with the Myanmar authorities in Naypyidaw. Therefore, foreign ministry officials were trying to contact the Chinese and Myanmar embassies in Dhaka, but it could not be confirmed as of yesterday afternoon whether the meeting was going to be held, he said.
The Myanmar military took control of the country, raising fears that the Rohingya repatriation would be delayed.
"We want to continue the [repatriation] process. We had an agreement with the government, not with any individual in Myanmar. Earlier in 1980s and 90's, we repatriated Rohingyas when there was a military regime.
"It is an opportunity for Myanmar to make repatriation happen. If they do it, all others will be with them," the foreign minister said.
Asked if Bangladesh was condemning the military coup in Myanmar or welcoming the new regime, Momen did not give any direct response.
"Myanmar is our neighbour. We believe in democratic values. So, we also want the democratic values, peace, and stability to prevail in Myanmar," he said.