See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

US slams Myanmar over inaction

Myanmar has done little for the repatriation of Rohingyas.


Written by

Updated: November 8, 2019

The US has condemned Myanmar’s inaction in creating conditions conducive to  a voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas.

In a statement following a visit by two top US officials to Bangladesh between November 5-7, the country also underscored that it would continue its efforts to bring an end to the refugee crisis.

USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G Wells travelled here to promote expanded US-Bangladesh bilateral relations, boost commercial and security ties, and address the ongoing Rohingya crisis, according to a statement released by the US embassy in Dhaka.

During their time in Bangladesh, the duo visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, home to some one million Rohingyas, including some 750,000 who fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar since August 2017.

They also met ministers, government officials, business owners and opposition leaders during their visit.

“In her meetings with government of Bangladesh officials, Acting Assistant Secretary Wells stressed that the solution to the Rohingya refugee crisis lay in Burma and condemned the inaction by Burmese authorities to create conditions for voluntary, safe, and dignified returns,” the statement said.

She stressed that the US would continue its bilateral and multilateral efforts to bring a conclusion to the crisis.

Though Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a bilateral deal on repatriation more than two years ago, the Rohingyas did not volunteer to return in the two efforts made last year and this year.

They say conditions in Rakhine are not conducive to a safe and sustainable return, a statement which is endorsed by the UN.

The refugees also said there was no guarantee of citizenship and safety in Rakhine.

In July this year, the US announced sanctions against the Myanmar military’s Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and other leaders who it said were responsible for extrajudicial killings of Rohingyas and barred them from entering the United States.

The US, which is the leading contributor of humanitarian assistance, providing more than $669 million since the escalation of violence in August 2017 (more than $553 million inside Bangladesh; the rest in Myanmar), also called on others to join in contributing to this humanitarian response.

While meeting Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, and the Prime Minister’s Adviser for International Affairs Dr Gowher Rizvi, Alice also reviewed the US-Bangladesh relationship and discussed enhancing defence cooperation.

She also touched upon strengthening governance and rule of law and highlighted the US Indo-Pacific Strategy’s (IPS) opportunities for further US-Bangladesh partnership. IPS is aimed at improving connectivity through the Indian Ocean — business, governance and security being its main aspects.

During the meeting with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, she discussed counterterrorism cooperation and US support for fully implementing Bangladesh’s National Plan of Action to eliminate trafficking in persons.

“Meeting with opposition leaders from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Jatiya Party, the acting assistant secretary stressed the importance of credible and contested municipal elections,” the statement said.

Wells also hosted roundtables with US apparel brands, manufacturers and labour groups to hear more about the ongoing efforts to improve labour rights and working conditions.

While meeting officials of the Bangladesh Investment and Development Authority, USAID Deputy Administrator Glick reinforced the agency’s commitment to supporting Bangladesh’s efforts to improve the business-enabling environment.

She also highlighted USAID’s partnership with Bangladesh and the private sector to diversify Bangladesh’s economy and stimulate economic growth.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Daily Star
About the Author: The Daily Star is a leading English-language daily newspaper in Bangladesh.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

China opposes passage of HK bill by US Senate

The bill criticizes the response to protesters in Hong Kong. China firmly opposes the passage of a Hong Kong-related bill by the United States Senate, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday, urging the US side to stop pushing the bill to become law and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks in an online statement after the US Senate passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday. Noting the act ignores facts and truth, applies double standards and blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, Geng said it is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China condemns and firmly opposes it, he said, adding that the country will take strong countermeasures to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests if the


By China Daily
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy

Trade disputes between Korea and Japan show no sign of abating

President Moon Jae-in blames Japan’s export controls for GSOMIA withdrawal. Escalating trade tension between South Korea and Japan shows no sign of abating as two rounds of bilateral talks to resolve disputes triggered by Japan’s export curbs could not reach common ground. On Tuesday, the two neighboring nations held the second round of talks at the World Trade Organization in Geneva after failing to reach a consensus at the first consultations on Oct. 11. “During two rounds of six-hour intensive consultations, the two nations became more aware of each other’s measures and positions in the process. But we don’t think the two sides have changed their positions,” Chung Hae-kwan, director general in charge of legal affairs at the Trade Ministry, told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva following a meeting with his Japanese counterparts on Tuesday. “We pointed out that Japan’s exp


By The Korea Herald
November 21, 2019

Diplomacy

PM Imran welcomes release of 2 hostages by Taliban in Afghanistan

Pakistan has stakes in any high level talks between the Taliban and the United States. The Taliban insurgents released two Western hostages — Kevin King from the United States and Timothy Weeks from Australia — on Tuesday in a prisoner exchange deal with the Afghan government, two Afghan officials said. “This morning at around 10am two American University professors were released in Nawbahar district of Zabul province. They were flown out of Zabul by American helicopters,” a local police source said. “The two professors are safely freed and are being taken care of now,” one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. The American and Australian were exchanged with three Taliban leaders, including key militant figure Anas Haqqani, added Reuters. Three Taliban sources in the province also confirmed the release. There was, h


By Dawn
November 20, 2019

Diplomacy

Beijing’s comments on HK court decision could signal direct intervention

Beijing has rejected a Hong Kong court decision. China has firmly rejected the Hong Kong High Court’s decision to overturn a controversial mask ban aimed at quelling violent protests, prompting experts to say the central government could soon act to ensure its constitutional authority over Hong Kong is not challenged. China’s Parliament and Cabinet both issued statements early on Tuesday (Nov 19) morning that the ruling challenged the authority of both the Hong Kong authorities and the central government. The response came a day after the city’s High Court ruled that th


By The Straits Times
November 20, 2019

Diplomacy

N. Korea rejects nuclear talks before US withdraws hostile policy

The US and South Korea have suspended a joint air drill to appease Pyongyang. North Korea said Tuesday it has no interest in denuclearization negotiations with the United States unless Washington drops its “hostile” policy. Kim Yong-chol, who formerly led the negotiations as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart, issued the statement in response to Sunday’s decision by South Korea and the US to postpone military exercises in support of diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the North. “What we are demanding from the US is that it withdraw from combined military exercises with South Korea or completely stop the exercises,” Kim, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, said in the statement carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency. “Postponing the combined military exercises does not guarantee peace


By Cod Satrusayang
November 19, 2019

Diplomacy

US-Thai defence treaty looks to cement alliance in 21st century

Thailand is the US’ oldest treaty ally in Southeast Asia. Thailand and the United States have signed a defence treaty to enable stability, prosperity and sustainability in the Indo-Pacific region “in support of an inclusive and rules-based international order”. The US-Thailand Joint Vision Statement 2020 advances the 2018 US National Defence Strategy and Thailand’s 20-Year National Strategy objectives “by reaffirming our shared commitment to the long-standing defence alliance”, according to a statement issued by the US embassy in Bangkok on Sunday. “It strengthens the special relationship with a focus on the long-term advancement of mutual interests and shared values while also promoting security cooperation capable of deterring or acting decisively to meet the shared challenges of the future”, the statement added. Academics said the move reaffirmed US policy o


By The Nation (Thailand)
November 18, 2019