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