Bangladesh, Myanmar maritime talks inconculisve

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Dhaka, Nov 17 (UNI) Bangladesh and Myanmar decided to continue maritime talks as experts of the two countries today ended their hectic negotiations on critical issue of drawing their maritime boundary through the Bay of Bengal without much progress in methodology of the delimitation.

''This is a complex negotiation. This can not be resolved today or tomorrow .We will continue our talks in the future to arrive at peaceful settlement,'' Foreign Advisor Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury told reporters after a meeting with leaders of the delegations of the two countries.

He said the two sides explained their respective positions regarding the methodology of delimitation and tried to find out a common formula.

The two sides are to sign an agreed minute at the end of their two-day meeting to carry on the technical-level negotiations.

Asked about the outcome of the talks Dr Iftekhar said, ''outcome is continued talks.'' Bangladesh team was led by Additional Foreign Secretary MAK Mahmood and Myanmar side led by its Deputy Foreign Minister Maung U Myint.

Mahmood told reporters earlier that Dhaka placed logic of the principle of equity (180 degree line) in delimitating the sea border while Yangon stressed equidistance (243 degree line) principle, ''which is not acceptable to us.'' He said according to UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea) 1982, no method should dictate the result; rather the result would justify the method. Since the outcome generated through the method of equidistance is obviously inequitable to Bangladesh, it is incumbent on both the states to examine other options and reach a mutually acceptable solution.

The meeting sources said the Myanmar was rigid on their arguments and no practical progress was made at the meeting.

The host Bangladesh requested Myanmar to restrict its survey and exploratory activities in the disputed waters to the East of 180 degree line until a final agreement between the two states on maritime delimitation was signed.

The negotiations took place hot on the heels of a near- confrontation over oil exploration in the disputed part of the Bay waters early this month. Myanmar stopped exploration in the wake of intense diplomatic efforts.

The two neighbours held two technical-level talks in Dhaka and Bagan in April and September this year on the subject.

UNI XC ARB PK KP1719

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