UN Security Council
Members of the U.N. Security Council – minus China and Russia – condemned the “unrelenting violence” and killing of civilians in Myanmar and again urged its military rulers to stop attacks, release ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and respect human rights. Thirteen of the 15 council members on Wednesday backed a joint statement that said there had been “insufficient progress” on implementing the first-ever Security Council resolution on Myanmar that was adopted last December. In that 12-0 vote, China and Russia, which have ties to the military that seized power from Suu Kyi’s elected civilian government in February 2021, abstained along with India whose two-year term on the council has ended. Bangladesh urges OIC for efforts to send Rohingya back home in Myanmar Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador James Kariuki read the statement, flanked by diplomats from the other countries, after the council was briefed at a closed meeting by U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths on his recent visit to Myanmar and by Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari on efforts to resolve the crisis. The statement reiterates demands from the December 2022 council resolution that still require implementation: the immediate release of all “arbitrarily detained” prisoners including ousted leader Suu Kyi and president Win Myint, restoring democratic institutions, respecting human rights and “the democratic will of the people,” and upholding the rule of law. It also calls for the full implementation of the plan by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations that Myanmar’s rulers agreed to in April 2021 but have made little progress in fulfilling. It includes an immediate cessation of violence, a dialogue among all parties mediated by an ASEAN envoy who is also to visit Myanmar and meet all parties. Envoys have visited but not been allowed to meet Suu Kyi. The 13 council members said the military’s actions have left over 18 million people in Myanmar in need of humanitarian assistance – over 15 million of them without regular access to adequate food – and 2 million people displaced. Investigators say Myanmar's military is committing increasingly brazen war crimes Members also expressed ongoing concern about the plight of nearly a million Rohingya Muslims who fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar following a military crackdown in northern Rakhine state in August 27 to Bangladesh and other countries. They urged Myanmar “to address the fundamental causes of the crisis and restore the rights of Rohingya.” Almost all Rohingyas are denied citizenship and their movements are restricted. At the council meeting, diplomats discussed a report this month by U.N. independent investigators who said Myanmar’s military and affiliated militias are committing increasingly frequent and brazen war crimes. The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, established in 2018 by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, said it also found strong evidence during the year ending in June of the indiscriminate and disproportionate targeting of civilians with bombs, mass executions of people detained during military operations, and large-scale burning of civilian houses. Nicholas Koumjian, head of the investigative group, said: “Our evidence points to a dramatic increase in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country, with widespread and systematic attacks against civilians, and we are building case files that can be used by courts to hold individual perpetrators responsible.” Myanmar atrocities, impunity must end: UN U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield cited the group’s report in a statement saying “the regime’s horrific atrocities must stop.” Given the military’s “intransigence and continued human rights abuses,” she said the Security Council needs to take action beyond last December resolution. Myanmar’s U.N.-accredited ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, who represented the Suu Kyi government, urged the council to adopt a resolution banning the supply of weapons, jet fuel, and financial flows to the military. “The people of Myanmar demand the removal of the military from politics and the establishment of a civilian, federal, democratic union," he said.
Israel’s far-right government has granted approval for over 7,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, settlement backers and opponents said Thursday. The move defies growing international opposition to construction in the occupied territory. The announcement came just days after the U.N. Security Council passed a statement strongly criticizing Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands claimed by the Palestinians. The United States, Israel’s closest ally, blocked what would have been an even tougher legally binding resolution, with diplomats saying they had received Israeli assurances of refraining from unilateral acts for six months. Read More: 10 Palestinians killed, scores hurt in Israel West Bank raid The new approvals took place during a two-day meeting that ended Thursday and appeared to contradict those claims. The U.S. has repeatedly criticized Israeli settlement construction, saying it undermines hopes for a two-state solution with the Palestinians, but taken no action to stop it. Peace Now, an anti-settlement watchdog group that attended the meeting, said a planning committee granted approvals for some 7,100 new housing units across the West Bank. The group said the committee scheduled a meeting next month to discuss plans to develop a strategic area east of Jerusalem known as E1. The U.S. in the past has blocked the project, which would largely bisect the West Bank and which critics say would make it impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. Read more: UN approves resolution calling for Russia to leave Ukraine Lior Amihai, the group's incoming director, said some 5,200 housing units were in the early stages of planning, while the remainder were approved for near-term construction. He also said construction was approved in four unauthorized outposts. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he had pledged not to legalize any more wildcat outposts. He made the promise after retroactively legalizing 10 existing outposts earlier this month. The Israeli government is “spitting on the face of the U.S., only a few days after announcing that they committed to them that there would be no advancement of settlements in the near future,” said Peace Now. The United States criticized the decision. “We view the expansion of settlements as an obstacle to peace that undermines the geographic viability of a two-state solution,” said a National Security Council Statement. But it gave no indication that the U.S. was prepared to act. Read more: Israel's Netanyahu advances judicial changes despite uproar Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, appealed to the United States to intervene. “The American side is required to stop this violation, which will not lead to any peace or stability in the region,” he said. The planned construction is likely to add to the already heightened tensions following an Israeli military raid that killed 10 Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday. The international community, along with the Palestinians, considers settlement construction illegal or illegitimate. Over 700,000 Israelis now live in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem — territories captured by Israel in 1967 and sought by the Palestinians for a future independent state. Netanyahu’s new coalition, which took office in late December, is dominated by religious and ultranationalist politicians with close ties to the settlement movement. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a firebrand settler leader, on Thursday was officially granted Cabinet-level authority over settlement policies. Smotrich had promised earlier this month a major settlement push. His office declined to comment Thursday, but settler representatives, who also attended the planning meeting, celebrated what they said were new approvals. Yossi Dagan, a settler leader in the northern West Bank, welcomed the retroactive approval of 118 homes in “Nofei Nehemia,” an outpost in the northern West Bank, after a 20-year struggle. “Great news for Samaria, for settlement and for the entire nation of Israel,” he said, using the biblical name for the region. Shlomo Neeman, chairman of the Yesha settler’s council, declared the approvals “a tremendous boost.” Neeman is also mayor of the “Gush Etzion” settlement bloc near Jerusalem, where settlers said hundreds of new homes were approved. The decision marks one of the largest approvals of settlement construction in years. In comparison, some 8,000 units were approved in the previous two years, according to Peace Now. “It's very big,” said Amihai.
UN Security Council adopts first-ever resolution on Myanmar; China, Russia and India abstain from voting
The United Nations Security Council has adopted its first-ever resolution on “situation in Myanmar”, placing an important focus on the Rohingya crisis and its sustainable solution. Referring to the ongoing political unrest in Myanmar, continuous deterioration of its democratic institutions and arbitrary detention of political leaders, the resolution, among others, urges for ending violence and inclusive political dialogue. As the penholder of the Myanmar situation in the Security Council, the United Kingdom tabled the resolution which was adopted by 12 votes in favour. While no members of the Security Council voted against or used veto power to block its adoption, China, Russia and India abstained from voting, according to the Bangladesh Permanent Mission in New York. Read More: US diplomat for ‘comprehensive approach’ to deal with Rohingya crisis In the context of multifaceted global challenges including Russia-Ukraine conflict, the resolution is a demonstration of the UN’s supreme body’s determination towards resolving the ongoing crisis in Myanmar. This resolution will further renew the attention of the global community towards the Rohingya crisis. Since the exodus of Rohingyas in Bangladesh in 2017, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the position of Bangladesh clear to the international community — that they must return to their homeland in Myanmar from their temporary shelter in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is now hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingyas out of humanitarian consideration. Read more: Rights group urges UN Security Council to impose binding arms embargo on Myanmar The resolution commends Bangladesh’s efforts for hosting and providing humanitarian support to the Rohingyas. It also recognizes the implications of the current political situation in Myanmar on the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingyas to Myanmar and on regional security. It underscores the need to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State, and to create conditions necessary for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees. The resolution also puts significant focus on ASEAN's role in implementing its Five Point Consensus agreed on in 2021. Read More: Requested US, UK, Japan to take Rohingyas from Bangladesh: FM As an immediate action, the resolution requests the UN Secretary-General and his Special Envoy on Myanmar to submit a report, on the possible support from UN on the implementation of ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus, by March 15, 2023 to the Security Council. The adoption of the resolution will serve as a first step to the regular discussion of the Security Council on Myanmar. It will also strengthen Bangladesh’s ongoing efforts towards sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis. Bangladesh Permanent Mission in New York made "significant contribution" to the negotiations of the resolution, Bangladesh said. Read more: UN adopts resolution on human rights of Rohingya, other minorities in Myanmar Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, Muhammad Abdul Muhith, held several bilateral meetings with the strategically important members of the Security Council and ensured that issues specific to Bangladesh’s interest were included in the resolution. This resolution bears the testimony of Bangladesh’s milestone success in multilateral efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected Russia’s attempt to establish a commission to investigate its unfounded claims that Ukraine and the United States are carrying out “military biological” activities that violate the convention prohibiting the use of biological weapons. Russia only got support from China in the vote on its resolution, with the U.S., Britain and France voting “no” and the 10 other council nations abstaining. The resolution was not approved because it failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes required for adoption. The 2-3-10 vote reflected the council’s continuing opposition and skepticism about Russia’s actions since its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. The council has been paralyzed from taking any action against Russia’s military offensive because of Russia’s veto power. Russia circulated the draft resolution and a 310-page document to council members last week alleging that military biological activity is taking place at biological laboratories in Ukraine with support from the U.S. Defense Department. Russia’s deputy ambassador Dmitry Polyansky said after the vote that his government was “extremely disappointed” that the council did not respond positively to its request to establish a commission. Its proposed resolution called for the Security Council’s 15 members to carry out the investigation of Russia’s complaint, as allowed under Article VI of the biological weapons convention, and present a report with recommendations to the council by Nov. 30. Polyansky claimed “Western countries demonstrated in every way that the law does not apply to them” and “are ready to trample any norm, to flout any rule,” accusing them of a “colonial mentality.” U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield countered that the United States voted against the resolution “because it is based on disinformation, dishonesty, bad faith, and a total lack of respect for this body.” Before the vote, Russia’s Polyansky called the resolution “a considerable milestone” that would show whether the Security Council was prepared to act in line with international law giving state parties to the biological weapons convention the right to seek an investigation at the Security Council. “It is a milestone for Russia’s deception and lies,” Thomas-Greenfield shot back. “And the world sees it.” At a meeting in September of the 197 state parties to the biological weapons convention, she said, “Russia failed to provide any credible evidence to support these false allegations” and an overwhelming number of countries that spoke “considered that the issues raised by Russia were unsubstantiated and had been conclusively addressed.” But Thomas-Greenfield said that wasn’t enough for Russia and “it inappropriately raised the same false claims here, abusing its position and abusing us.” Mexico’s deputy ambassador Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, whose country abstained, said Russia didn’t provide evidence to activate an investigation. He said it was not “realistic” to set up a commission to report in 28 days — and a commission could not be independent and objective if Russia as a council member was included so it would have to be excluded “since it is one of the parties involved in the armed conflict.” Russia’s initial allegation of secret American biological warfare labs in Ukraine in March has been disputed by independent scientists, Ukrainian leaders and officials at the White House and Pentagon. An Associated Press investigation in March found the claim was taking root online, uniting COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, QAnon adherents and some supporters of former President Donald Trump. Ukraine does have a network of biological labs that have gotten funding and research support from the U.S. They are owned and operated by Ukraine and are part of an initiative called the Biological Threat Reduction Program that aims to reduce the likelihood of deadly outbreaks, whether natural or manmade. The U.S. efforts date back to work in the 1990s to dismantle the former Soviet Union’s program for weapons of mass destruction. Russia called a Security Council meeting on its claims last Thursday, which the United States and its Western allies vehemently dismissed. Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador, called the meeting “a colossal waste of time” and said the claims are part of a Moscow “disinformation campaign” that is attempting “to distract from the atrocities Russian forces are carrying out in Ukraine and a desperate tactic to justify an unjustifiable war.” “Ukraine does not have a biological weapons program,” she said. “The United States does not have a biological weapons program. There are no Ukrainian biological weapons laboratories supported by the United States.” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the U.S. of conducting work in Ukraine with deadly pathogens — including cholera, plague, anthrax and influenza — that couldn’t be justified under the guise of public health. He said documents and evidence recovered by Russian authorities suggested a military application. Nebenzia told the Security Council that the Russian military during its time in Ukraine had recovered drones capable of spraying bioagents as well as documents that he said related to research on the possibility of spreading pathogens through bats and migrating birds. Thomas-Greenfield countered that Russia’s claims are “absurd for many reasons, including because such species, even if they could be weaponized, would pose as much a threat to the European continent and to Ukraine itself as they would to any other country.” Russia’s Polyansky told the council Wednesday that regardless of the vote, “the questions to the United States and Ukraine is something that we do retain and the evidence accompanying our complaint still requires clarifications.” He said Russia will continue to make efforts to establish the facts through the biological weapons convention and any violators will still have to be held accountable by the international community.
The UN Security Council on Friday strongly condemned the killing of Al-Jazeera's Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the injury of another journalist in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. In a press statement, the members of the council conveyed their sympathy and deepest condolences to the victim's family. They called for an immediate, thorough, transparent, fair and impartial investigation into her killing, and stressed the need to ensure accountability. Also Read: Slain Al Jazeera journalist to be laid to rest in Jerusalem The council members reiterated that journalists should be protected as civilians, stressing that they continued to monitor the situation closely. Abu Akleh was shot dead on Wednesday while covering an operation by Israeli security forces in Jenin. A fellow journalist was wounded in the same incident.
The United Nations Security Council should urgently convene an open session on Myanmar and pass a binding resolution on the situation in the country, Fortify Rights said on Thursday. A Security Council resolution on Myanmar should impose a global arms embargo on the military, refer the situation in the country to the International Criminal Court, and impose targeted sanctions, it said. Also read:US may influence ASEAN to persuade Myanmar to stop atrocities, take Rohingyas back: Momen Nine high-level representatives from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are scheduled to meet U.S. President Joe Biden on May 12 and 13 during a special summit in Washington D.C., where the regional bloc’s response to the crisis in Myanmar will be discussed. “ASEAN and its consensus have failed,” said Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Fortify Rights, a rights group which primarily works to ensure human rights. “The Security Council has a responsibility to act. The flow of arms and money to the junta must be stopped, and the Security Council is the key international body with a mandate to make that happen," he said In April 2021, ASEAN leaders reached a “Five-Point Consensus” with the Myanmar military, aimed at putting the nation back on a path to peace following the February 2021 military coup d’état led by Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. The Myanmar junta has flouted the agreement while committing mass atrocity crimes. The U.K. is the U.N. Security Council’s “penholder” on Myanmar and should table a Chapter VII resolution mandating an arms embargo and referral to the ICC, and President Biden should use the occasion of the Special Summit to obtain ASEAN’s support for such a move, Fortify Rights said. Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter enables the Security Council to take coercive action with respect to threats to international peace and security; Chapter VII resolutions are binding on all U.N. member states. The Myanmar military is responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and has long posed a threat to international peace and security, said the rights body. Since launching a coup d’état on February 1, 2021, the Myanmar army and police have reportedly killed more than 1,800 people and detained more than 13,640. President Biden should also encourage ASEAN member states to engage the National Unity Government of Myanmar, as recommended by Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, said Fortify Rights. Also read: Myanmar Crisis: US, ASEAN urged to increase pressure on Myanmar military junta Thailand should be urged to stop returning refugees to Myanmar and to authorize cross-border humanitarian aid, it said. The U.S. Government and ASEAN should also ensure that humanitarian aid to Myanmar is not directed through the military junta, said Fortify Rights. “The Myanmar junta is destabilizing the entire region, and ASEAN is at risk of losing all credibility for failing to take decisive action,” said Matthew Smith. “All governments have a responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar from mass atrocities and that includes members of the Security Council.”
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Tom Andrews on Tuesday reiterated the urgent need for the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Myanmar military and stressed the need to significantly increase financial pressure on the junta, as many in Myanmar are doing with boycotts. “The fact that one year has elapsed with no Security Council Resolution imposing a comprehensive arms embargo — as arms continue to flow to the junta and kill innocent people — is unacceptable,” he said. “The people of Myanmar deserve better from the United Nations.” Read: Myanmar takeover anniversary marked by strike, int’l concern One year after the Myanmar military launched a coup, the UN Special Rapporteur released a video featuring the voices of some of those in Myanmar who have suffered greatly and are taking action to defend their country. Tom Andrews implored States to take a more robust course of international action “before it’s too late”. “Now is not the time for more rhetoric, it is time for meaningful action,” the UN expert said. “The international community must take strong, meaningful steps to cut the junta’s access to weapons, funds and legitimacy.” Andrews said he would soon release a report that identifies the weapons that continue to flow into the arsenal of the junta and where they are from. “The military junta is functioning as a criminal enterprise, committing murder, torture, abductions, forced displacement, all the while stealing the revenue and seizing the assets that rightfully belong to the people of Myanmar,” he said. What is worse, they appear to be getting away with it. Their attacks continue unabated. The suffering of the Myanmar people is steadily increasing. “Recent months have seen an even further escalation of violence, and a campaign of terror now widespread across the country. I have received more reports of mass killings, attacks on hospitals and humanitarian targets, and the bombing and burning of villages,” Andrews said. Read: Dozens arrested to suppress protests on Myanmar anniversary Despite great risks and immense hardships, he said, the people of Myanmar are responding with courage, tenacity and an unwavering commitment to save their country and their children’s future. “I am amazed at the resilience of the Myanmar people. In the face of aerial assaults, and mass arrest and torture, they continue to strike, to protest, to speak out and to defend themselves. They need and deserve stronger support from the international community,” Andrews said. On this first anniversary of the illegal coup by the military junta, the best and worst of humanity is unfolding in Myanmar, he said. “As we mark this dark day and what amounts to a military occupation of Myanmar, let the international community, and Member States of the United Nations, offer not only words of concern, but strong action. The people of Myanmar deserve nothing less,” he said.
India's performance as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council indicates that the world needs India to be at the horseshoe table permanently, the country's envoy to the United Nations TS Tirumurti has said. "India took its place in the Security Council for the eighth time as an elected member - The highlight of our presence in the Security Council so far has been our presidency in August," Mr Tirumurti, who is India's Permanent Representative to the UN, said in a video, reports NDTV. India's Permanent Mission to the UN posted the special video highlighting the several achievements by India as its first year in the UN Security Council draws to a close. Read: 90 pc of adult population in India vaccinated against COVID-19 with first dose: Union Health Ministry The video chronicles India's journey as a non-permanent UNSC member in 2021 including its Presidency of the 15-nation Council in August, on combatting terrorism, UN peacekeeping, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Africa, Middle East and Climate action. "Our performance again indicates that the world needs India to be at the horseshoe table permanently," Mr Tirumurti said, as he underscored the need for New Delhi to have a seat at the UN Security Council as a permanent veto-welding member. Narendra Modi also became the first Indian Prime Minister to preside over a UN Security Council Open Debate as he chaired the high-level session on 'Enhancing Maritime Security - A Case for International Cooperation' on August 9. For the first time, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement on maritime security. The visit of the Indian Prime Minister to the United Nations and to address the UN General Assembly was "certainly a high point this year", he said. It was during India's August presidency of the Council that the situation in Afghanistan rapidly deteriorated, requiring the Security Council to act without any delay, Mr Tirumurti said, adding that Resolution 2593 on Afghanistan was adopted under India's presidency, which demands assurances that Afghan soil will not be used for terrorism against other countries and that the authorities in Kabul will act against all terrorists, including those designated by the 1267 Sanctions Committee. Significantly, India firmly opposed the attempt by countries to bring the issue of climate change into the Security Council. Mr Tirumurti had said at the Council meeting earlier this month that "India is second to none when it comes to climate action and climate justice. But the Security Council is not the place to discuss either issue. In fact, the attempt to do so appears to be motivated by a desire to evade responsibility in the appropriate forum." At the flag installation ceremony in the beginning of the year for the incoming UNSC members, Mr Tirumurti had highlighted that India comes into the Security Council "as a largest democracy, representing 1/6 of humanity and a very strong commitment to reformed multilateralism, rule of law, a fair and equitable international system and to peace, security and development." Mr Tirumurti said in the video that India has been consistent in its support for transition to democracy, whether in Myanmar or in Africa and on issues affecting the developing world, India has been a strong voice to protect their interests. "Our steadfast commitment to safeguarding the interests of the developing world is reflected in our performance," he said. Further, given its predominant role in UN peacekeeping, India gave UN peacekeeping a strong focus in the last one year, including during its August Presidency. During a meeting in August, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that peacekeeping continues to play a crucial role in India's vision of ensuring international peace and security and providing greater clarity, direction and professionalism in UN peacekeeping operations is at the heart of the vision. Read: Indian Centre Allows Export Of 7 Crore Covovax Doses To Three Foreign Countries After nearly five decades, India piloted a resolution on 'Protecting the Protectors', calling for accountability for crimes against peacekeepers. India also gifted 200,000 COVID vaccines to cover every peacekeeper in every peacekeeping mission throughout the world. Jaishankar had also chaired a briefing on ISIL Daesh during India's presidency and New Delhi helped shape the Global Counterterrorism Strategy in the UN General Assembly. During the year, India also sought to bring the necessary balance to the debates relating to Africa, Mr Tirumurti said adding that India made its views clear on the issue of burdening African countries with unrealistic benchmarks on their sanctions regime and called for greater commitment from the international community to assist Africa fight terrorism. India chaired the Taliban Sanctions Committee and the Libya Sanctions Committee this year and will chair the Counter-terrorism Committee next year. In a historic decision, the UN General Assembly granted observer status to the International Solar Alliance.
Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday India looks forward to "working productively" with other members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as the country takes over the presidency of the 15-nation UN body. Asian News International (ANI) quoted Jaishankar as saying that India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law. Read:UNSC: Dhaka extends support to Tokyo's bid for permanent seat "As we take over UNSC Presidency for August, look forward to working productively with other members. India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law," Jaishankar tweeted. India on Sunday assumed the rotating presidency of the UNSC and is set to host signature events related to maritime security, peacekeeping and counterterrorism during the month. India took over the presidency from France. Ambassador of India to United Nations, TS Tirumurti, thanked France Permanent Representative to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, for steering the UN Security Council for the month of July. This is India's first presidency in the UNSC during its 2021-22 tenure as a non-permanent member of the UNSC. The two-year tenure of India as a non-permanent member of the UNSC began on 1st January, 2021.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki Ito has said Japan will seize the opportunity to find a “long-term and lasting solution” to the Rohingya crisis with the Myanmar side, noting that the issue is very relevant to the future stability of the entire region. “What we can say right now is Japan will seize the opportunity to raise this very, very important issue with the Myanmar side and its military now whenever appropriate,” he said. The Japanese envoy said his country will do its best to create an enabling environment for the early repatriation of Rohingyas and will continue to raise the issue with the Myanmar side whenever appropriate. He was responding to a question at a virtual dialogue titled “Bangladesh-Japan Relations: Prognosis for the Future” where he delivered the keynote speech. Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group, hosted the dialogue as a part of its ongoing Ambassador’s Lecture Series. The opening remarks were delivered by the Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan. The session was chaired by Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, renowned scholar-diplomat and former Advisor on Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Caretaker Government. Md Abul Kalam Azad, Special Envoy, Climate Vulnerable Forum; Hayakawa Yuho, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh Office; Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former Governor, Bangladesh Bank; Prof Masaaki Ohashi, Professor, University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo; Manzurul Huq, Columnist, writer and academic; Prof Takahara Akio, Dean, Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo and Ambassador (retd) Tariq A Karim, Honorary Advisor Emeritus, Cosmos Foundation comprised the panel of discussants. Also read: Ambassador Ito sees 5 challenges ahead to elevate Dhaka-Tokyo ties Ambassador Ito said humanitarian assistance and humanitarian crises are very much part of their vision when they talk about stability and peace of the region. He said it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen in Myanmar right now in light of the current situation in that country since the February 1 military coup with a complete standoff.