Dhaka, Oct 9 (UNB) - Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Monday said Bangladesh will not take any ‘suicidal’ decision like getting involved in any war with Myanmar as it wants a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis through diplomatic efforts.
“Why should we get involved in war? We won’t do that. Why should we destroy our development? We want peace,” he told reporters after briefing diplomats at state guesthouse Padma in the afternoon.
He said Bangladesh is now a role model of development for many countries, including some developed ones, in the world.
Minister Ali cited the examples of Iraq, Syria and Yemen which witnessed massive destruction of societies, civilization, cultures and everything because of wars.
Pointing finger at critics, the Foreign Minister reiterated that they are not going to fight with Myanmar. “Why should we go to that direction? Why should we commit suicide? We won’t take any suicidal step.”
He invited the critics to come and give their opinions at the discussion to be held at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) on Tuesday morning.
“We’ll discuss openly. You all come and take part in the discussion,” he said inviting all to the event that will focus on Rohingya crisis.
Minister Ali said the entire international community, including all the important countries, is beside Bangladesh on the issue and all should get united on the mater.
He expressed his displeasure over the comments made by various quarters questioning the Foreign Ministry’s role. “We’re looking for a peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis through diplomatic efforts.”
Minister Ali urged all to stay above political differences and work on the issue as the Rohingyas are living in Bangladesh’s most important tourism destination – Cox’s Bazar.
He also expressed displeasure over TV talk-shows saying, “What types of talks are these? We are doing everything possible.”
Ambassadors, High Commissioners, CDAs from diplomatic missions of Australia, China, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Sweden, the USA, the UK, Germany, Canada, India, The Netherlands, Vatican, Denmark, Spain, the EU, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Switzerland and Norway attended the diplomatic briefing.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were also present.
The Foreign Minister briefed the diplomats about the current Rohingya situation and mentioned that the atrocities in Rakhine have not been stopped and Rohingyas are continuing to cross the border.
As of Monday, 5,20,000 Rohingyas crossed the border since 25 August; nearly 40,000 of them arrived in last 10 days, according to UN bodies.
Minister Ali referred to the recent visit of Myanmar’s Union Minister at the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe to Dhaka on October 2 at his invitation.
During the meeting, he informed, the Union Minister has expressed Myanmar’s willingness to take back the ‘displaced residents’ of Myanmar and proposed to follow the principle and criteria agreed upon in the 1992 Joint Statement.
However, with regard to the principles and criteria of return under the 1992 Joint Statement, the Foreign Minister highlighted that the situation of 1992 and current situation are entirely different.
Around half of the Muslim villages in the northern Rakhine State have been burned down and the fire is still there.
“So, identification of Rohingyas based on their residence in Rakhine won’t be realistic,” reads a Foreign Ministry statement after the briefing.
Bangladesh, therefore, proposed and handed over a new arrangement to the visiting minister outlining the principles and criteria for repatriation.
Response from Myanmar on the proposed arrangement of return is awaited. He also informed that both sides also agreed to form a joint working group in this regard.
The Foreign Minister also shared that Myanmar has invited him and the Home Minister to visit Myanmar and the invitations have been accepted.
The Foreign Minister thanked the international community for their support and urged them to continue their engagement till a peaceful means is found to resolve this humanitarian crisis.
Minister Ali briefed diplomats over the issue in the past, too.
Over 519,000 Rohingyas have fled into Bangladesh following relentless persecution in Rakhine, with Bangladesh urging the international community to mount pressure on Myanmar to take back its nationals and make their return to their homeland sustainable.