The Daily Star/ANN
Dhaka expects India and China to stand beside Bangladesh amid the current Rohingya refugee crisis, hoping that the two countries would provide help address the influx of Myanmar nationals.
"China and India are friendly nations. As usual, they would support us during this crisis," Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told reporters after a diplomatic briefing at the state guest house Padma Monday afternoon.
Like other countries in the world, he said, India and China also supported the fact that genocide was being carried out in Rakhine State.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, who briefed the top diplomats of South Asian and Southeast Asian countries in Dhaka, told reporters that on Tuesday the Bangladesh government would take foreign diplomats to the country's southeastern part, where Rohingyas have taken refuge fleeing violence in Myanmar.
Replying to a question what the Chinese and Indian envoys told them about the crisis, Haque said, "As China and India are our brotherly countries, they expressed solidarity with Bangladesh and assured us of staying with us to face the situation."
As his attention was drawn to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extending support to Myanmar, the foreign secretary declined to comment on the matter.
He said ASEAN countries have promised to stand by Bangladesh with urgent humanitarian assistance to address the Rohingya crisis.
He said Foreign Minister Ali told the diplomats that Myanmar should immediately stop killing and repressing Rohingyas to stop their entry into Bangladesh. "Myanmar can take back its citizens after ascertaining their nationality through verifications."
The foreign secretary said they were yet to get any response from Myanmar to resolve the crisis.
He also said all the diplomats who attended the meeting voiced deep concern over Bangladesh's additional burden and humanitarian crisis following the influx of the refugees.
He said they all assured Bangladesh of standing by it at this critical time and share the burden of refugees by providing necessary resources to host the Rohingyas.
Ambassadors, high commissioners, CDAs from diplomatic Missions of Afghanistan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives were present at the diplomatic briefing.
Myanmar was not invited.
The foreign secretary said the countries that attended the briefing highly praised the Bangladesh government for sheltering the Rohingyas for all these years and also giving shelter to the Myanmar nationals who are fleeing violence in Rakhine. "They also stressed the need for protecting civilians in Rakhine."
Earlier the foreign minister in his speech before the foreign diplomats highlighted that Bangladesh has always preferred having a bilateral solution to this longstanding problem and was successful in repatriating 236,599 Rohingyas to their homeland through a bilateral agreement in 1992.
He mentioned that the 1992 agreement recognised Rohingyas as 'members of Myanmar society'.
Ali also highlighted Bangladesh's efforts to address the security concerns of Myanmar, particularly by proposing MoUs in 2014 on border liaison office and security dialogue.
He said Bangladesh has also proposed joint inspection, coordinated patrolling of border; and 'joint operation' along the border. "Unfortunately, Myanmar has not responded to these proposals. Rather, they've been running a malicious propaganda terming the Rohingyas 'illegal migrants from Bangladesh' and the attackers to their BGP posts 'Bengali terrorists'."
Earlier on Sunday, the foreign minister held two back-to-back diplomatic briefings at the Padma on the Rohingya problem.