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Myanmar’s social welfare, relief and resettlement minister has said the Rohingya repatriation process has been delayed as they need more time to verify the identities of the refugees, reports Radio Free Asia.

Minister Win Myat Aye told this in an interview with Radio Free Asia yesterday. He made the statement just four days ahead of his two-day visit to Bangladesh on April 11-12.

He will meet with officials from Bangladesh’s foreign affairs and home affairs ministries to discuss the delay in the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, who are now living in camps in Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh.

Talking to Radio Free Asia, Myat Aye said the repatriation has been delayed as the refugees did not fill up the forms in line with the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

“That’s why we needed more time to verify people. We sent a list of those whom we could verify to Bangladesh, but we haven’t heard anything back yet,” he said.

“We will talk about it when I am in Bangladesh,” Myat Aye added.

On asked whether Myanmar will work with UN agencies on the Rohingya issue, the minister said that in the Rohingya repatriation agreement with Bangladesh, his government already said it would work with UN agencies, such as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on this issue when it is necessary.

Around 700,000 Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh following persecution in Rakhine state of Myanmar since August 25 last year.

Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on November 23, and subsequently a Joint Working Group comprising of officials from Bangladesh and Myanmar was formed on December 19.

Myanmar has done nothing serious about the implementation of the repatriation deal signed with Bangladesh and the safe return of the Rohingya yet.

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