October 5, 2023, 9:03 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2022-09-21 03:58:09 BdST

Myanmar’s provocationDhaka seeks int’l support to avoid regional stability

Bangladesh has conveyed its concerns over possible instability in the region to diplomats stationed in Dhaka – briefing them over the current situation in bordering areas with Myanmar.

The diplomats have appreciated Bangladesh’s position of not stepping into Myanmar’s traps by maintaining peace.

Acting Foreign Secretary Rear Admiral (Retd) Md Khorshed Alam spoke to reporters at State guesthouse Padma, following the briefing with diplomats.

The briefing lasted for around 30 minutes.

The diplomats assured Bangladesh of conveying its concerns to their capitals.

Amid repeated landing of mortar shells and violation of airspace through crossing Bangladesh’s boundary, Bangladesh on Tuesday (Sept 20) sought intervention of international community so that Myanmar does not create instability in the region.

Acting Foreign Secretary Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam, who briefed the foreign diplomats at state guesthouse Padma, said Bangladesh has sought global support so that Myanmar cannot create instability in the region and ignore the demand for Rohingya repatriation taking advantage of the situation.

Diplomats of different countries who attended the briefing were informed of Bangladesh’s “extreme patience” to peacefully handle the tense situation prevailing on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border instead of “stepping into Myanmar’s provocation”.

The diplomats also assured that their respective countries will support Bangladesh at the UN over the issue.

At the briefing, the Bangladesh government conveyed its concerns over possible instability in the region to the diplomats stationed in Dhaka and briefed them on the current situation in bordering areas with Myanmar.

Replying a question, Khurshed Alam said the Myanmar side always makes common claims that the mortar shells that landed in the Bangladesh territory were launched by Myanmar’s internal rebel groups -- Arakan Army and ARSA. 

According to International Law, the Myanmar Army’s action within eight kilometres of the border is unlawful and it is also prohibited to shoot at Bangladesh’s border.

At the briefing, sources said, foreign diplomats also expressed their concerns over the matter, saying Myanmar’s most recent attacks are disrespectful to Bangladesh’s sovereignty, bilateral relations between the two countries and regional peace.

Highlighting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s position, the acting foreign secretary said Bangladesh is working with a lot of patience and it did not do anything that might cause Myanmar’s mortar shells landing inside its territory, impacting lives and livelihoods of Bangladeshis.

“We are showing a lot of tolerance and we are not reacting to any provocation from the Myanmar side. We do not want to get involved in it,” he said adding that the foreign diplomats highly appreciated Bangladesh position.

He also said that Bangladesh does not want to give Myanmar any chance to avoid Rohingya repatriation.

The Foreign diplomats assured Bangladesh of conveying its concerns to their capitals and helping Bangladesh if needed by raising the issue at United Nations.

“We briefed the diplomats on our Prime Minister’s stance of zero tolerance to terrorism, and that Bangladesh never allows anyone to use its land to destabilize the region,” he said and added Bangladesh also told the Myanmar envoy to take actions so that no mortar shells land in Bangladesh territory.

Earlier, on Monday (Sept 19), Bangladesh briefed the heads of missions from Southeast Asian countries and apprised them of the prevailing situation at Bangladesh-Myanmar border and also made a similar request to the envoys of ASEAN countries to use their leverage so that mortar shells from Myanmar do not come to Bangladesh.

Earlier, Bangladesh summoned Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka Aung Kyaw Moe for the fourth times and strongly protested Myanmar’s violation of border and air space, and landing mortars inside Bangladesh territory.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar government on Monday (Sept 19) invited Bangladesh Ambassador in Myanmar Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury and explains the border situation and shifted blame to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and Arakan Army for the volatile situation along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Ghumdhum, Naikhyangchhari, in Bandarban district.

Myanmar also claimed that the two sides – Arakan Army and ARSA – have created the ongoing situation in the border area to destroy the “cordial relations” between the two countries.

Director-General of Strategic Studies and Training Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zaw Phyo Win while explaining the border situation to the Bangladesh envoy, said Arakan Army and ARSA members on September 16 attacked with mortar shells at Border Guard Police’s border outpost no. 31 at Taung PyoWell (left).

Myanmar Foreign Ministry on its Facebook page on Monday night disclosed the information that three mortar shells fell inside the Bangladesh territory during that attack. Besides that, Arakan Army and ARSA members on September 16 and 17 September carried out separate attacks with mortar shells at BGP’s border outpost no. 34 at Taung PyoWell (right). At that time nine mortar shells fell inside the Bangladesh territory.

Mentioning the two incidents, Zaw Phyo Win emphasised that the Arakan Army and ARSA members carried out the shootings near the border fencing of the two countries to destroy the “cordial relationship” between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Zaw Phyo Win further said Myanmar always follows the bilateral agreements countries and international laws while taking necessary security measures near the border of the two countries. Alongside this, the country respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, including Bangladesh.

Assuring Bangladesh of Myanmar’s cooperation in maintaining peace along the borders of the two countries, he placed emphasis on full and mutual cooperation of the Bangladesh side.

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