Saturday, November 17, 2018

Russia, China on Bangladesh's side to end Rohingya crisis: Foreign minister

  • Senior Correspondent
    Published: 2017-10-18 16:22:01 BdST


Russia and China, known to be the allies of Myanmar, are now on ‘Bangladesh's side’ to settle the Rohingya crisis, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali says.

The foreign minister made the remarks on Wednesday at a press conference in Dhaka where he detailed the issues discussed during a recent informal Arria-formula meeting of the UN Security Council.

The Security Council again called for an end to the violence against the Rohingyas in the Rakhine State in the meeting, he said.

Representatives from many countries who took part in the unofficial Security Council meeting on Oct 13 on the Rohingya crisis pressed Myanmar on the issue, he said.

Ali said Rakhine Advisory Council Chairman and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, the UNHCR and various nations and international organisations were part of the call.

Arria-formula meetings are informal and confidential gatherings which enable Security Council members to have a frank and private exchange of views, within a flexible procedural framework.

He responded to a question on the BNP's allegation.

"Diplomatic efforts are a continuous process. Russia has supported the Kofi Annan commission report. And Bangladesh also wants the implementation of the report.

"I don't understand how can someone say that Russia is against Bangladesh and favours Myanmar," he wondered.

About the China's statement, the foreign minister said, "The Chinese report doesn't have any comment on the Kofi Annan commission report. But the Chinese language is a little different. They have used the words 'historical and unique background' in their report."

"It means these people (Rohingyas) did not go there only yesterday. They had been staying there (Rakhine) for decades. We don't call yesterday's incident historic.”

"They (China) have asked for a stop to the persecution. They have separated the Rakhine situation, so have we. Then how they are against Bangladesh?" Ali asked.

He emphasised building opinion across the world in favour of the five-point proposal Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presented at the UN General Assembly to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

He said this is a 'significant' target of Bangladesh's diplomatic efforts. 

According to him, the UNHCR representative at the UNSC meeting noted that the violence that began in the last week of August had not ended and that this revealed the ‘true nature’ of the situation in Rakhine.

“They said they saw no indication that the violence or the flight out of the country (to Bangladesh) would end anytime soon. They also spoke of the viciousness and cruelty against the Rohingya population.”

Kofi Annan emphasised the role the Myanmar security forces had to play in ending the violence and bringing the Rohingyas back home, said Ali.

“He thanked Myanmar for accepting the recommendations of his commission report and for attempting to put them to practice. He asked them to open bilateral talks with Bangladesh to enact the commission’s proposals, especially the return of displaced Myanmar nationals to the country.”

“Dr Annan said it was ‘important’ for the Myanmar security forces in this matter. He also urged Myanmar to allow international organisations to enter Rakhine and ensure humanitarian aid for those affected by the violence.”

The Arria-formula meeting was organised by France and the United States.

It included the five permanent members of the Security Council and Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Representatives from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the EU, the OIC, UNHCR and the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance organisation were also invited.