Bilateral agreement on return of fleeing refugees may be signed next week

Writer: 
Kyaw Zin Win
Myanmar officials expect Sheikh Hasina, the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, to sign a draft bilateral Agreement during an upcoming visit to Myanmar. The agreement would set out terms for Myanmar to accept back refugees that have fled from Rakhine State to Bangladesh in recent months.
Zaw Htay, Director-General of State Counsellor Office, said on November 9 that Hasina has been invited to visit Myanmar on November 16.
Under the agreement, the Myanmar government would re-admit the refugees under provisions contained in a 1993 agreement, as has already been publicly announced.
Kyaw Tint Swe, Minister for the State Counsellor’s Office, recently visited Bangladesh to discuss re-acceptance of those fleeing to Bangladesh. During the discussions, the Bangladesh government showed Kyaw Tint Swe a proposed agreement. After circulating it for comment to various Myanmar ministries, an amended version was sent back to the Bangladesh government, said Zaw Htay. 
The Bangladesh government has been reviewing it, said Zaw Htay, and Myanmar has invited foreign minister Hasina to visit.
“We expect that both sides would reach agreement during the visit of the Bangladeshi foreign minister,” Zaw Htay said.
Myanmar’s first priority is re-admittance of about In the process for re-accepting those arriving in Bangladesh, the first priority is intended for the approximately 500 Hindus to have recently arrived in Bangladesh.
Myanmar alone can’t decide the repatriation process, Zaw Htay said. It needs bilateral cooperation.
The Bangladeshi delegation, led by Asaduzzaman Khan, attended an October 24 ministerial meeting on border security and enhancement of cooperation on rule of law held in Nay Pyi Taw. The meeting drew up 10 points of agreement and officials from both countries signed MoUs on border security cooperation and the establishment of border relations offices.
The United Nations confirmed that about 600,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh as Myanmar’s army responded to ARSA militants after August 25
The website of www.benarnews posted a video allegedly showing ARSA militants among those fleeing to Bangladesh.