YANGON, Myanmar, Myanmar will receive refugees who fled the Rakhine conflict to neighbouring Bangladesh, based on a list provided by the Bangladeshi side, as the first batch, but the list will be converted into Myanmar format.

“The Bangladesh side had provided a list of more than 8,000 people from 1,600 households, who will be sent back as the first batch. However, the list is not according to our format and our immigration department is converting the list into our format,” spokesman of the Presidential Office, Director-General U Zaw Htay, said, following a battalion commander-level meeting, held in the two countries’ border.

At the meeting, the two sides discussed issues relating to people remaining illegally near the border, arrangement of joint patrol, and exchange of information on occurrences along the border, on a real time basis.

As of end of Feb, no refugee, who fled the Rakhine conflict, has returned from Bangladesh, despite the announcement by the Myanmar authorities to receive them starting from Jan 23.

The refugees were arranged to come back through some designated receiving camps, such as Taung Pyo Letwe and Nga Khu Ya reception centres, set up at Maungtaw, while Hla Pho Kaung was added as a transit camp for the returnees.

Myanmar authorities blamed some unscrupulous groups for persuading the refugees not to return, with the aim of making the matter more complicated, to draw international attention and to invite pressure.

In the midst of the repatriation process, some refugees were reported to be stranded at the zero line zone, prompting the authorities of the two countries to resolve matter of displaced people in such status.

Both sides vowed at their border authorities’ meeting, to offer assistance in sending the refugees, camping at the zero line, back to their homes.

Known as no man’s land, the zero line is an undeveloped, uninhabited area on the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, that has recently become homes for refugees, who rejected to participate in the repatriation.

Rakhine state officials said, the action of the displaced people at zero line are politically motivated to create international pressure.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an arrangement in Nov last year, on the return of displaced persons from Bangladesh, based on the joint statement signed by foreign ministers of the two countries in 1992, which guides the systematic verification and acceptance of displaced persons from Rakhine state.

Source: NAM News Network