B'desh to lodge protest against Myanmar's intrusion

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Dhaka, Nov 3 (UNI) Bangladesh will on Wednesday send its Foreign Secretary Touhid Hossain as special envoy to Yangon to lodge Dhaka's protest against the ''intrusion'' of Myanmar marine vessels within Bangladesh's maritime zone.

Foreign Adviser Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury summoned Myanmar Ambassador U Phae Thann Oo at the Foreign Ministry and conveyed his government's decision.

''We're sending the special envoy to lodge our protest at the highest level of Myanmar so that the situation does not go beyond control. We are sending him to protect our interest,'' he told reporters after the meeting with the Myanmar Ambassador, who was summoned to the Foreign Ministry twice within 24 hours, to convey the protest.

Dr Iftekhar said several Myanmar vessels intruded into Bangladesh territorial water for exploration near deep sea bloc 8-13, claimed by latter. But Myanmar claims they are within their maritime zone.

He said all steps would be taken to protect the sovereignty and territory of Bangladesh and ''we want to put an end to this situation forthwith. We want to resolve the matter diplomatically,'' he said.

The Adviser noted that Bangladesh is a peace-loving nation and ''we don't want to go for any confrontation as Myanmar is our friendly neighbour,'' he said.

He said Dhaka and Yangon will hold talks here on delimitation of boundaries between the two countries on December 16-17. A deputy minister from Myanmar will lead his country's delegation as Yangon attaches importance to the meeting.

Yesterday, the Foreign Secretary called the Myanamr Ambassador to lodge the protest and he was asked to convey to his Government Bangladesh's request to immediately suspend all activities within the declared maritime zones of Bangladesh in accordance with the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974 of Bangladesh.

The protest note categorically emphasized that the Bangladesh government reserves the right to protect its interests and urged the Myanmar authorities to ensure the withdrawal of their marine vessels and stoppage of any exploration work until the delimitation of maritime boundary between the two sides is resolved.

UNI XC ARB CS1449

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