Chittagong, Bangladesh: Foreign Minister Dipu Moni yesterday asked Burma envoy for early repatriation of the Rohingya refugees from Nayapara and Kutupalong camps in Cox’s Bazar district, according to a press release of Foreign Minister Office.

“The Foreign Minister made the request when Min Lwin, Burma’s Ambassador in Bangladesh, called on her at the Foreign Ministry.”

“Terming Bangladesh-Burma relations excellent, Foreign Minister stressed enhancing and deepening the bilateral ties further for the benefit of two countries.”

Besides, Dipu Moni put due importance on the improvement of connectivity through direct air services, costal shipping lines, and direct road, railway links.

Foreign Minister of Bangladesh appreciated the progress made through the ongoing bilateral meetings under the sponsorship of Foreign Office Consultations, Joint Trade Commission, and Joint Boundary Working Group.

The Foreign Minister also proposed the idea of broader framework agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar for cooperation in many-sided avenues.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni urged the ambassador to persuade the Burma businessmen to import more Bangladeshi products including medicine, readymade clothes, and jute and goods made from jute. She also reiterates Bangladesh’s interest to import surplus electricity and gas from Myanmar.

Burma in general agrees with Bangladesh to export electricity and gas to Bangladesh, but in practical, it hesitates to implement it, said a businessman from Maungdaw Town.

Referring to the sincere efforts made by the present Bangladesh government to resolve issues with neighboring countries on the basis of friendship and goodwill, the foreign minister requested the new Myanmar government to come forward to reap benefit of the goodwill and sincerity for the best interests of the two countries and the peoples, the press release reported.

Whenever the Bangladesh authority met with Burma’s authority in Bangladesh or in Burma, the Burma’s authority had never rejected to receive Burmese refugees sheltering in Bangladesh. But in practical, the Burmese government delay to put it into action. Bangladesh government does not know inner side of the Burmese authorities’ hypocrisy, said a politician from Maungdaw who denied to be named.

“What Burma thinks today, Bangladesh thinks tomorrow,” said a schoolteacher from Buthidaung.

In 1978 and 1991 Bangladesh was faced with influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. In 1978 about 200,000 refugees crossed into Bangladesh to flee persecution by the Burmese army in the Arakan region. Their stay in Bangladesh at that time was short lived as the problem was resolved through diplomatic initiatives in sixteen months. Between mid-1991 through mid-1992, an estimated 250,000 refugees took shelter into Bangladesh. During 1992 and 1993 human rights groups and UNHCR raised concerns over coercion and forceful repatriation of refugees by the Bangladesh authorities. Certain international NGOs confirmed that such allegations were well founded. Following UNHCR/NGOs’ protests about alleged forcible repatriation and their demand for a halt to such process the Bangladesh government blocked their access to the camps, irrespective of the Agreement signed between the government and the UNHCR on 8 October 1992, which allow the latter a role in verifying the voluntary nature of the return movement. As a result UNHCR withdrew from the repatriation programme on 22 December 1992. On 2005, the repatriation programme was totally stop in Bangladesh.