Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said Dhaka is hopeful to begin repatriation of Rohingyas in next few months.
Myanmar had promised to start taking back its nationals from the second quarter of 2021, he also said after a meeting of Bangladesh-Myanmar- China held virtually on Tuesday afternoon.
Masud said Bangladesh proposed to start the repatriation in the first quarter of this year but Myanmar side sought some more time for logistical arrangement. “Finally, they agreed to start to the repatriation in the second quarter,” he told reporters at the Foreign Ministry.
The Foreign Secretary further said China and Myanmar have also been positive regarding Dhaka's proposal for keeping international community's presence in Rakhine during the repatriation time.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister of China Luo Zhaohui and Deputy Minister of International Cooperation Hau Do Suan of Myanmar attended the meeting.
At the meeting, Dhaka proposed village-based repatriation of the Rohingyas but Myanmar said they would like to begin with the 42,000, who have already been verified by Myanmar side. Bangladesh has already handed over a list of 840,000 Rohingyas living in makeshift camps Cox's Bazar and more are under preparation.
Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million forcible displaced Myanmar nationals, who took temporary shelter amid brutal military crackdown in Rakhine State in August 2017.
"Bangladesh is preferring for village-based repatriation as they will feel safe and secure with mostly relatives and neighbours in a village or area," said the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary.
At the meeting, Myanmar sought assurances that the Rohingyas will go by Myanmar's laws and regulations. They also mentioned about the presence of ARSA.
In response, Masud Bin Momen said Bangladesh don't allow any insurgent on our soil. There are some criminal groups, but they don't have any religious or political identities, he added.
Earlier, the virtual tripartite meeting of Bangladesh, Myanmar and China began in the afternoon to discuss ways to ensure expeditious repatriation process.
Meanwhile, a Chinese embassy press release said the meeting was held in a friendly, candid and constructive atmosphere. The three parties reviewed the progress of previous work, discussed the way forward, and reiterated our commitment to creating favorable conditions for the early repatriation of displaced Myanmar residents from Rakhine.
Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui pointed out that since 2017, China has been actively engaged in mediation between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
BDST: 2003 HRS, JAN 19, 2021