Burma-Bangladesh FOC meeting concluded in Naypyidaw

( Naypyidaw, 17 June 2013) :  Burma (Myanmar) and Bangladesh have discussed and resolved many issues including the repatriation  of Muslim refugees in a Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) meeting, held recently in Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma.

Myanmar-Bangladesh-flagThe two day long consultation meeting concluded on June 15, said the officials and local media sources.

It was the 7th round of FOC meeting, where delegations from both the neighboring countries reviewed various bilateral issues related to political, economic and security cooperation between Burma and Bangladesh.

Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque led the 11 members’ team from his country, where as deputy foreign minister U Thant Kyaw led the 20 member Burmese delegation.

Shahidul Haque stressed on resolving the longstanding repatriation issue of Muslim refugees in the meeting and called for early resumption of repatriation process relating to the Burmese refugees taking shelter in Bangladesh. The process was stalled due to the outbreak of communal violence in Rakhine State of Burma last year.

The Burmese delegation assured in the meeting that the repatriation process of Muslim refugees from Bangladesh would be resumed soon as the situation turns normal and stable in Rakhine State.

The Bangladesh delegation proposed to form a joint committee to exclusively deal with issues of repatriation in relation with the undocumented Burmese nationals taking shelter in their country. The Burmese delegation took note of the proposal for active consideration, informed a Burmese foreign ministry official.

Burmese minister Thant Kyaw, while responding to Bangladesh’s willingness to import natural gas from Burma, apprised the meeting about the ongoing process of floating bids for offshore and onshore gas blocks. He however assured that Bangladesh would be given priority in meeting Dhaka’s domestic energy needs.

Delegates representing both the countries also agreed to address the entire range of trans-boundary crimes along the international border jointly with a comprehensive effort. They also discussed about Dhaka’s proposal for a ‘security dialogue’ within the FOC framework.

Both the governments also reiterated their commitments to uphold ‘zero tolerance policy’ against the unauthorized use of their territories by any person or group for subversive activities.