PM goes to Myanmar today | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 05, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 05, 2011

PM goes to Myanmar today

Rohingya issue to top agenda

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leaves for Myanmar today on a three-day official visit with officials saying that repatriation of Rohingya refugees, energy cooperation, maritime dispute, trade and connectivity is high on the agenda.
During the visit the two countries are expected to sign several deals aimed at boosting economic cooperation and improving bilateral relations, foreign ministry sources in Dhaka said.
The Bangladesh cabinet has given go ahead for signing an agreement on capital investment, development and its preservation in both the countries.
Relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar are considered warm in spite of disputes over maritime boundary and the influx of ethnic Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's eastern state of Arakan.
Bangladesh wants Myanmar to speed up the repatriation of about 28,000 Rohingya refugees who have been living in government-registered camps in the border region of Tekhnaf.
Official sources in Bangladesh said another about 300,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar over the years alleging persecution. These unregistered refugees live outside the camps, many of them mingling with the local people.
Bangladesh and Myanmar are also trying to resolve their dispute over the maritime boundary in the resource-rich Bay of Bengal.
The prime minister's trip takes place at a time when the long-isolated Southeast Asian nation's first civilian government in decades are opening up with promises to carry out reforms.
Her trip follows two high profile separate visits to Myanmar by Chinese Vice-president Xi Jinping and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The premier will leave Dhaka for Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital of Myanmar, at 2:00pm today on a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, according to foreign ministry officials.
Myanmar's Union Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin will receive Sheikh Hasina at Nay Pyi Taw Airport at around 4:00pm local time. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni will accompany the PM, among others.
She will meet Myanmar President Thein Sein and hold talks aimed at boosting bilateral cooperation and removing irritants between the two neighbours.
A host of issues including import of natural gas and electricity, taking lease of land in Arakan for cultivation, building a direct road link, opening direct air and shipping links, easing procedures for issuing business visas and introduction of facilities for banking and financial transactions will be discussed.
From Myanmar the prime minister will fly to Bali, the Indonesian goddess island, on Wednesday to attend an international democracy conference on December 7-9.

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