Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Hopeful Talks Will Result in MoU on Rohingya Repatriation

By The Irrawaddy 22 November 2017

YANGON — Myanmar’s State Counselor and Foreign Affairs Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday that she hoped talks with Bangladesh this week would result in a memorandum of understanding on the repatriation of refugees.

At a press conference on the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Naypyitaw, the state counselor told reporters that bilateral discussions would be held with Bangladesh’s foreign minister on Wednesday and Thursday on the return of refugees who had fled to Bangladesh amid the latest Rakhine crisis, according to the State Counselor’s Office.

The two countries’ officials have discussed the repatriation since last month.

“We hope that this will result in an MOU being signed quickly, which would enable us to start the safe and voluntarily return of all of those who have gone across the border,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said.

The State Counselor said that during the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the Rakhine crisis had been discussed with representatives attending from ASEAN and European countries, including implementation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine state.

She added that efforts would be made for the long-term establishment of peace and stability in Rakhine but that it would take time for the issues there to be resolved.

Myanmar officials have pledged to accept the refugees under a 1993 agreement between the two countries.

In late September, the government said it would accept the refugees at two checkpoints in Taungpyo Letwe and Nga Khu Ya villages before resettling them in Dar Gyi Zar village in Maungdaw Township.

Temporary shelters are being built and are expected to be finished in December at Taungpyo Letwe village. Shelters will also be built in Nga Khu Ya village.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled across the border since Aug. 25, when a Muslim militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), attacked police outposts in Maungdaw Township, prompting clearance operations by the Myanmar Army.