Won’t let B`desh soil be used against anyone: Moni

Last Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 14:36

Dhaka: Bangladesh will not allow anyone to use its soil against its neighbours, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni has said after Myanmar accused the country`s right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami party of inciting sectarian violence in its western Rakhine state.

"The Myanmar authorities has conveyed its concern to our mission there (Myanmar) that the Jamaat-e-Islami had been helping the Rohingya groups in Bangladesh with arms to incite sectarian clashes in Myanmar," Moni told in a parliamentary statement last night.

Moni said Dhaka took the allegation seriously and investigations were already been launched into the complaint.

"This is a serious concern. We`ll never allow anyone to use our soil against any of our neighbours," she said.

The foreign minister`s comments came as deadly clashes in Buddhist dominated Rakhine state sparked earlier this month forcing boatloads of Rohingyas to flee their home in their bid to take makeshift refuge in bordering Bangladesh territory.

Dhaka has declined to shelter the Rohingyas, saying it was already overburdened with some 400,000 of them for years while Moni asked the international community to put in their efforts to end the sectarian violence in Rakhine instead of insisting Bangladesh to open its border for refugees.

"They (international community) need to have a better understanding. The international humanitarian organisations should ask Myanmar to control its internal strife," Moni told Parliament.

She added: "For the sake of its national security (also), Bangladesh will not allow any more Rohingya in."

Moni, however, recalled that during Bangladesh`s 1971 Liberation War, India had sheltered nearly a crore Bangladesh refugees and said "we have never forgotten it and that`s why Bangladesh always extends its helping hands when such incidents take place".

"In 1971, there was a war going on in Bangladesh...We are grateful that the Indira Gandhi government and the people of India stood beside the Bangladesh refugees," she said.

But, Moni said, Myanmar`s situation is not similar to that of Bangladesh in 1971 and that Myanmar was "not forcing its citizens to leave the country".

"This is a sectarian clash in which the state is not involved. The Myanmar government is rather working to resolve the problem," she added. Referring to the foreign appeals rights groups and UN bodies to allow the Rohingyas to enter Bangladesh, Moni said Dhaka was not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol and therefore, under no convention or protocol are we obliged to shelter the Rohingyas".

"(Yet) considering our experience of the 1971 [Liberation War], we have been sheltering the Rohingyas (who earlier took refuge in Bangladesh) on humanitarian grounds," she said.

Moni said Bangladesh was doing its best to comfort the Rohingya refugees on humanitarian grounds and its border guards were providing food, medicine and fuel to boatloads of Rohingyas in order to help them reach home while being pushed back.

"The situation in Myanmar is getting better, and we hope that the Myanmarese authorities would be able to resolve it soon. They will surely be successful," Moni said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 14:36

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