Dhaka briefs ASEAN envoys on tense situation along Bangladesh-Myanmar border

by IANS |

Dhaka, Sep 20 (IANS) Authorities in Dhaka have informed envoys of the ASEAN member nations on the ongoing tense situation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, seeking their cooperation to stop the violence that may destabilise the whole region.

The development comes after a Rohingya man was killed on September 17 as mortar shells fired from the Myanmar side hit the no-man's land, Five others were also injured in the incident.

In a similar incident on August 28, two mortar shells from Myanmar also landed in Bangladeshi territory.

"We told them that Myanmar should not be allowed to destabilise the whole region and create obstacles for the Rohingya repatriation," acting Foreign Secretary Admiral (Retd) Khurshed Alam said after a briefing on Tuesday morning.

He said Bangladesh has asked the envoys to take actions so that the falling of mortar shells and bullets from Myanmar side does not happen anymore.

The envoys have assured that they will inform their headquarters to raise the issue at the UN.

They also appreciated that Bangladesh has been handling the issue diplomatically, "not getting into the trap of Myanmar's provocation", Alam said.

The shooting and bombing by Myanmar military and Arakan Army since early August have been creating panic in the Bangladesh side of the border, he said, adding: "We told them that, please take actions so that the conflicts do not create any pressure on the Bangladeshis."

On Monday, the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh summoned the Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka and lodged a protest over the violence.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said Myanmar Ambassador U Aung Kyaw Moe was summoned and a strong protest was lodged through a diplomatic letter.

"We asked him so that recurrence of such incidents does not happen in the future. We strongly protected this incident," Momen said.

Also on Monday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said "no more Rohingya will be allowed to enter the country".

"We are facing problems with the Rohingya refugees in our country. So, we won't allow more Rohingya to enter our country," he said.

"We are a peaceful country. We don't want to disturb anyone's peace. We always want to maintain peace."

Meanwhile, U Zaw Phyo Win, a top official at Myanmar's Foreign Ministry, called in Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Myanmar, to speak about the situation at the border.

The Myanmar official blamed the Arakan Army and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Group (ARSA) for the recent incidents of cross-border shelling to create "negative consequences" on the existing "cordial bilateral relations" between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

He also claimed that on September 7, the Bangladeshi side was notified of the information of the trenches and bases of the AA and ARSA militants located "inside Bangladesh" through diplomatic channels and reiterated Myanmar's call to take necessary and immediate actions to investigate on the ground and dismantle those structures and bases.

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