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Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 19th October 2012.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Bangladeshi government on closure of the border between Burma and Bangladesh.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Border trade between Bangladesh and Burma resumed on 28-August, following meetings between respective border security officials. The crossing had previously been closed since 8 June following the onset of sectarian violence in the north Rakhine State in Burma.

The British Government are in regular contact with the Government of Bangladesh about the humanitarian situation in the Bangladesh-Burma border area. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague)—during a meeting with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, on 28 July—raised the issue of Bangladesh's international obligation to accept refugees and offer emergency medical support to those attempting to cross into Bangladesh to flee the violence in north Rakhine State, Burma. The then Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend Mr Mitchell, also discussed the humanitarian situation in the southeast of the country with Prime Minister Hasina on 12 August.

The British high commission in Dhaka, along with EU partners, has regular conversations with senior interlocutors in the Government of Bangladesh to stress the importance that essential aid agency programmes in south-eastern Bangladesh are able to continue.

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