Rohingyas with Bangladeshi passports are Bangalees

Says Saudi envoy

Diplomatic Correspondent

18 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Issa bin Youssef Al-Duhailan on Sunday said they are considering those Rohingyas as Bangladeshis who have been to Saudi Arabia with Bangladeshi passports.

While speaking at a function at a city hotel to distribute food baskets where Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was also present, he said they went to the Kingdom with

Bangladeshi passports and that’s why the Saudi government is terming them “Bangalee people.”

The Saudi envoy’s comments came ahead of tomorrow’s tripartite meeting between Bangladesh, Myanmar and China to discuss the repatriation of the forcible displaced Myanmar nationals.

In response, the home minister said the Rohingya issue is a "very old one" and they will look into it in terms of renewal or re-issuance of the passports. "Those who are from Myanmar are not Bangladeshi citizens... they’re citizens of Myanmar," he said. According to previous media reports, some 55,000 Rohingyas went to Saudi Arabia with Bangladeshi passports with the help of a section of dishonest people.

Asaduzzaman said Bangladesh continues its efforts on all fronts for the repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State and hoped that the Saudi government will continue its support. The Saudi ambassador said the proposed visit of the Saudi Foreign Minister has been postponed due to his domestic engagement and the visit will take place soon to discuss bilateral relations.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh government has handed over a list of 8.40 lakh Rohingyas to Myanmar for verification for the repatriation.

Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million forcible displaced Myanmar nationals with majority of them taking shelter here following the military crackdown in August 2017.

Dhaka expressed optimism over the resumption of talks on the Rohingya repatriation using a tripartite mechanism after the formation of a new government in Myanmar.

Foreign Ministry officials said they want to remain positive about the upcoming tripartite meeting as Myanmar has given the commitment to take their nationals back.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has recently conveyed Bangladesh that Myanmar assured China of taking back the Rohingyas who are temporarily taking shelter in Bangladesh.

The Japanese ambassador in Dhaka has also recently indicated about Myanmar’s assurance to start the repatriation this year.