Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bangladesh and Myanmar mending fences

Mizan Rahman/Dhaka, Gulf Times

image (not from article) from
Bangladesh is now redoubling its efforts to boost its ties with its next-door neighbour Myanmar as there is an indication that the resource-blessed Southeast Asian country also wants to improve its relations with Bangladesh removing all barriers for mutual benefits.
Both countries now seriously want to remove the misperceptions and gap of understanding that dominated for decades between the relations of the two neighbours. ...
The Bangladesh embassy in Yangon arranged series of programmes over the last few months as part of public diplomacy with the last one held on Saturday.
National League for Democracy (NLD) chief patron U Tin Oo’s participation in Saturday’s event is an indication that Myanmar wants to improve its ties with Bangladesh, said ambassador Rahman.
Acknowledging gap between Bangladesh and Myanmar, Myanmar secretary of international relations committee, Bo Bo Oo said there has been chill in relations between the two countries in the past.
“I hope the new government will change the course. And also Bangladesh government has to be keen to erase all the barriers, specially attitudinal barriers,” he said.
He finds border disputes between the two countries that contributed to chilling relations in the past and hoped that the NLD government will improve the relations.
Asked if these barriers can be removed, Bo Oo said it is very hard to remove all the barriers in a day, but both people from two countries have to endeavor for the good relations.
Responding to another question, Bo Oo said the bilateral trade volume between the two countries is very low and sought effective steps from both sides to boost it further. “I have a very optimistic thinking (that the trade volume will increase).”
He also indicated energy co-operation between the two countries in the coming days.
Bo Oo also hoped there would be high-level visits between the two countries soon though so far there is no official invitation between two governments.
Myanmar’s new president Htin Kyaw, the first elected civilian leader in more than 50 years, took over charge from Thein Sein, who introduced wide-ranging reforms during his five years in power.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD) took office on March 30, that opened a new era in Myanmar’s history ending long military rule.
The new government has taken 100 days agenda to meet public demands while the public expectation is very high.
Myanmar Journalism Institute executive director Thiha Saw said the new government will not change foreign policy ... but will come up with new approaches and neighbours will get priority.

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