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Bangladesh-Myanmar FS level meeting

Daily Star, 30 August 2014

ONE of the mechanisms of injecting momentum and dynamism into relations between the two neighbours has been the holding of meetings at the level of foreign secretary. The scheduled 8th such meeting in Dhaka on 31st August, between Bangladesh and Myanmar, is to be most welcomed. The main purpose of the meeting, I would argue, is to remove whatever misgivings Myanmar has about Bangladesh and adopt confidence building measures with Myanmar to put bilateral relations on a positive track. Cooperation on other issues should then move forward quickly. Since 1972, there have been many initiatives and about ten agreements between the countries to improve relations, but nothing moved.  There seem to be deep-seated misunderstandings between the two countries. Some originated in colonial times when many Bangladeshi nationals controlled the economy of Myanmar. In modern times the rise of Islamic extremism is perceived as a threat to Myanmar. Since March 2011, the reformist President of Myanmar U Thein Sein opened the doors of Myanmar for foreigners and introduced democratic and economic reforms inside the country.


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