The leaders of Burma and Bangladesh will discuss the issue of Rohingya refugees and related unrest near their shared border next month, Bangladesh’s ambassador in Rangoon said Monday.
The topic will be on the agenda when Burmese President Thein Sein travels to Bangladesh from July 15-17 to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Major General Anup Kumar Chakma told AFP.
“It is expected the Myanmar refugee issue will be discussed with more seriousness this time,” he said.
“Bangladesh supports all actions (and) measures that are being taken by Myanmar to restore normalcy in [Arakan] State as early as possible.”
Burmese government officials said they were unable to confirm the planned trip.
Burma’s Arakan state, bordering Bangladesh, has been rocked by rioting, arson and a cycle of revenge attacks involving Arakanese and Rohingya communities this month, prompting growing international concern.
More than 80 people have been killed in the violence, with sporadic outbreaks of violence still occurring, according to the Burmeses government, which has placed the whole of Arakan state under emergency rule.
“The overall situation in Sittwe district is under control although the curfew is still in force,” he said by telephone.
In recent weeks Bangladesh has turned away hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the violence in Burma despite pressure from the US and rights groups to grant them refuge.
The impoverished South Asian country is already home to a Rohingya refugee population estimated at 300,000.
Speaking a Bengali dialect similar to one in southeast Bangladesh, the Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants by Burma’s government and many Burmese, prompting many to attempt to flee to third countries in rickety boats.