Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to start repatriating Rohingya refugees in two months, Dhaka said Thursday, as global pressure mounts over the refugee crisis.
More than 620,000 Rohingya have poured into Bangladesh since August, running from a Myanmar military crackdown that Washington said this week clearly constitutes “ethnic cleansing”.
After weeks of tussling over the terms of repatriation, the two sides inked a deal in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw on Thursday following talks between Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Dhaka’s Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali.
In a brief statement, Dhaka said the two sides had agreed to start returning the refugees in two months. It said that a working group would be set up within three weeks to agree the arrangements for the repatriation.
In brief remarks to the press, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Ali said: “This is a primary step. (They) will take back (Rohingya). Now we have to start working.”
It remains unclear how many Rohingya will be allowed back and how long the process will take.
Rights groups have