Myanmar to repatriate 9,000 Muslim refugees from B`desh
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 17:54
Dhaka: Myanmar today agreed to repatriate 9,000 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, a move likely to ease tension between the neighbours over the crossing of the Muslim minority into the Islamic nation "to escape persecution".

Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, said Myanmar has assured Dhaka that it will begin the process of repatriation "as soon as possible".

Myanmar's Rohingyas, a Muslim minority, have been crossing into Bangladesh in large numbers since 1991 "to escape persecution" by the military rulers there. The issue had sparked a diplomatic row, with Bangladesh asking Myanmar to take back the Muslim refugees.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has set up camps in Bangladesh for the eventual repatriation of the Rohingya people.

Myanmar accepted the immediate repatriation of some 9,000 of the 28,000 Rohingya refugees registered as their identities have been verified, Quayes said here after talks with Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Maung Myint here.

"This (refugee) issue was a top priority in our bilateral consultation and they will soon start the repatriation process to take back their nationals whose identities have been already verified," he told reporters.

Quayes underlined that a large number of the 28,000 registered refugees were ready to go back home while Dhaka "pressed Myanmar to expedite the process of their repatriation".


First Published: Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 17:54

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