DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh has sought cooperation of Saudi Arabia for a sustainable repatriation of Rohingya Muslims to their home country, Myanmar.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen made the appeal while speaking to his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud over phone, said a statement by the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingya refugees, most of whom fled a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces while more than 34,000 thrown into fires, over 114,000 others beaten, as many as 18,000 women and girls raped and above 115,000 homes burned down, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

“Bangladesh pays the highest importance to safe and dignified repatriation of the stateless Rohingya to their home country,” the statement said, quoting the minister as saying.

Momen urged Saudi Arabia to help Dhaka start the long-stalled peaceful repatriation of Rohingya to their original place of birth in Myanmar.

The ministers also discussed issues of mutual interest.

Dhaka also requested Riyadh to ease compulsory quarantine for Bangladeshi migrants in Saudi Arabia.

Currently, nearly 2.5 million Bangladeshi migrants are working in Saudi Arabia, the highest number of Bangladeshi nationals in any overseas country.

Momen also invited his Saudi Arabian counterpart to visit Dhaka at any convenient time.

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