The visiting Chinese foreign minister yesterday expressed his country's willingness to facilitate talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Wang Yi made the offer as he met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Gono Bhaban. PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting, reports UNB.
"China is willing to facilitate a dialogue between Myanmar and Bangladesh to resolve the Rohingya crisis. This is a big challenge for Bangladesh... this is Myanmar's internal problem, but this is affecting Bangladesh," Ihsanul quoted Wang Yi as saying.
Talking to a small group of journalists, including The Daily Star's diplomatic correspondent, later at night, the Chinese minister said the actions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) must help Bangladesh and Myanmar address the crisis as quickly as possible through bilateral consultations.
“The UNSC action should not complicate the situation and make things more difficult to resolve,” he said. “The UN should help the two countries address the issue through peaceful means at an early date."
He also said China supports Bangladesh and Myanmar in exploring a proper solution to problems through the bilateral channel.
He said the two neighbours were likely to sign an agreement on repatriation of the Rohingyas. “We welcome and we support this development. China also welcomes the international community to pay attention to the progress made in addressing this issue.”
The United Nations, including the UN Security Council, should create a better environment for finding a solution to the problem, he said.
In reply to a question, Wang Yi said China as a "mutual good friend of both Bangladesh and Myanmar" will do the best to play a constructive role (in this regard).
“I know friends in Bangladesh are following Chinese attitude in the UNSC discussion on the Rohingya issue. We totally understand why you follow [that]. I want to say China has no self-interest at all. We will not be partial to either of the two parties: Bangladesh and Myanmar. We'll make judgment completely on the merit of the things.
“We believe Bangladesh friends will understand the Chinese position,” he added.
HASINA-WANG YI MEET
During yesterday's meeting, Hasina urged the Chinese foreign minister to mount pressure on Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas.
She said Bangladesh has given shelter to over a million Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds. "Myanmar will have to take back their nationals ensuring their safety, security and dignity for a durable solution to the crisis," she said.
Hasina reiterated that Rohingyas are Myanmar nationals and they have to take back their citizens from Bangladesh as the relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar are good.
The PM then narrated the plight of the Rohingya people in Bangladesh, especially the women and children, to the Chinese minister and said a good number of Rohingya women are pregnant.
Reiterating her government's pledge that it would not allow any terrorist group to use the land of Bangladesh to commit any acts of insurgency in neighbouring countries, she said, "This is our firm decision."
Recalling Hasina's visits to China in 2010 and 2014 as well as the visit of the Chinese president to Bangladesh in October 2016, Wang Yi said he is now touring Bangladesh to see the progress of the Strategic Partner Cooperation that the two countries agreed upon during the Chinese president's visit to Bangladesh.
On Bangladesh-China economic cooperation, Wang Yi said his country's concessional loan now has crossed five billion dollars. "China wants to help Bangladesh more under the South-South cooperation," he said.
The Chinese minister also said his country does not want the activities of BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) economic corridor to slow down because of the Rohingya issue.
Earlier in the day, Wang Yi, who arrived in Dhaka yesterday morning on a two-day visit, had a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.
At the meeting, major issues of bilateral and regional interests were discussed, said a foreign ministry press release.
The Chinese minister acknowledged that Bangladesh was facing the brunt of continuing influx of Rohingya refugees.
BANGLADESH LAUDED FOR GENEROSITY
A US delegation yesterday thanked Bangladesh for its generosity in hosting a huge number of Rohingya refugees despite resource constraints and assured the country of raising the issue in the US senate.
The assurance came when the congressional delegation led by Senator Jeff Markley visited Balukhali camp in Ukhia yesterday.
The other members of the delegation include Senator Richard Durbin (Democrat- Illinois), Representative Betty McCollum (Democrat - Minnesota), Representative Jan Schakowsky (Democrat - Illinois), Representative David Cicilline (Democrat - Rhode Island) and US ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat.
The congressional delegation reached Dhaka yesterday for a two-day visit, Shamim Ahmad, minister (press) of Bangladesh embassy in the USA, said in a release.
After visiting the Rohingya camp, Jeff Markley told reporters that they listened to the horrific narrations from the victims and will inform congress of the situation found on the ground.
“We talked to the affected people and listened to their description about the mayhem targeting Rohingya people. We will share the experience we gathered from today's visit at our congress. We also convey thanks to Bangladesh for its generosity in hosting the refugees," he added.
During their visit they talked to the Rohingya people who shared their experience of facing atrocities unleashed by the Myanmar authorities.
Rohingya people requested the delegation to take steps to put an end to the ongoing atrocities and to ensure their safe accommodation at the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
Earlier, during a meeting with Bangladesh Ambassador to the US, Mohammad Ziauddin, in the USA, Senator Jeff Markley said the US lawmakers were continuously pushing the country's administration to take actions against the Myanmar government to end the violence and implement the suggestions of the Kofi Annan Commission's Report, said a release from the Bangladesh embassy.
Meanwhile, UNHCR Spokesperson William Spindler on Friday at a briefing in Geneva said nearly three months into the crisis ensued afresh in August, refugees are continuing to flee Myanmar, many by increasingly desperate means.
Over the last 10 days, the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, received reports of some 30 improvised rafts arriving from Myanmar, carrying more than a thousand people.
“Recent arrivals told us they had been waiting for more than a month in desperate conditions on Myanmar's shores. Food and water are said to be running low,” he said.
ICRC REGIONAL DIRECTOR VISITS DHAKA TODAY
Boris Michel, ICRC regional director for Asia and the Pacific, arrives in Dhaka on a five-day visit today to see the Rohingya situation on the ground, said a release.
During the visit, he will meet the Bangladeshi authorities, senior officials from international organisations and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) to discuss pressing humanitarian needs and the challenges of the forcibly displaced Rohingya people.
He will also undertake field trips and be part of ICRC's joint response with the BDRCS for the newly arrived people from Myanmar currently living in Cox's Bazar, added the release.