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In challenge to Trump, women protesters swarm streets across U.S

Women took to the streets in unexpectedly large numbers in major U.S. cities on Saturday in mass protests against U.S. President Donald Trump, in an early indication of the strong opposition the newly inaugurated Republican may face in office.

Hundreds of thousands of women – many wearing pink knit hats to evoke comments by Trump that triggered outrage among many – filled long stretches of downtown Washington around the White House and National Mall. Hundreds of thousands more women thronged New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston to rebuke Trump on his first full day in office.

Trump has angered many liberal Americans with comments seen as demeaning to women, Mexicans and Muslims. He worried some abroad with his inaugural vow on Friday to put “America first” in his decision-making.

Around the world, women marched in sympathy and shared outrage in hundreds of cities, drawing a total turnout that organizers estimated at more than 4 million.

The Women’s March on Washington appeared to be larger than the crowds that turned a day earlier to witness Trump’s swearing-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. No official estimates of the crowd size were available, but the demonstrators appeared to easily exceed the 200,000 organizers had expected.

Sister March organizers estimated drawing 750,000 demonstrators to the streets of Los Angeles, and a planned march in Chicago grew so large that organizers did not attempt to parade through the city but instead staged a rally. Chicago police said more than 125,000 people attended the event.

The protests illustrated the depth of the division in the country, still reeling from the bitterly fought 2016 election campaign. Trump stunned the world by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and first lady who made history as the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.

Pam Foyster, a resident of Ridgway, Colorado, said the atmosphere in Washington reminded her of mass protests during the 1960s and ’70s against the Vietnam War and in favour of civil rights and women’s rights.

“I’m 58 years old, and I can’t believe we are having to do this again,” Foyster said.

Although Republicans now control the White House and both houses of Congress, Trump faces entrenched opposition from segments of the public as he takes office, in contrast to the honeymoon period that new presidents typically experience at the outset.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump had the lowest favorability rating of any incoming U.S. president since the 1970s.

Tens of thousands of protesters filled streets of midtown Manhattan, while around the world thousands of women took to the streets of Sydney, London, Tokyo and other cities in Europe and Asia in sister marches against Trump.

Sister March sponsors boasted some 670 gatherings around the world in solidarity with the Washington event, estimating a global turnout of more than 4.6 million participants, although those numbers could not be independently verified.

Trump, in a Twitter post on Saturday, wrote, “I am honored to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” He made no mention of the protests. Trump attended an interfaith service at Washington National Cathedral and then visited the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters.

SUBWAY OVERWHELMED

The Washington march stressed the city’s Metro subway system, with riders reporting enormous crowds and some end-of-line stations temporarily turning people away.

The Metro reported 275,000 rides as of 11 a.m. (1600 GMT) Saturday, 82,000 more than the 193,000 reported at the same time on Friday, the day of Trump’s inauguration, and eight times normal Saturday volume.

No official crowd estimates were available from the National Park Service or Washington police.

Trump on Saturday angrily attacked media reports, including photos, that showed crowds at Friday’s inaugural were smaller than those seen in 2009 and 2013, when Barack Obama was inaugurated for his first and second terms as president. Overhead photos of the area showed significantly smaller crowds on Friday compared with Obama’s first inauguration eight years ago.

“I made a speech, I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people,” Trump said at his visit to the CIA. “They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there.”

Saturday’s march was peaceful, a sharp contrast to the day before when black-clad anti-establishment activists, among the hundreds of demonstrators protesting against Trump, smashed windows, set vehicles on fire and fought with riot police, who responded with stun grenades.

Washington prosecutors on Saturday said about $100,000 in damage had been done and 230 adults and five minors had been arrested.

Many protesters on Saturday wore knitted pink cat-eared “pussy hats,” in reference to Trump’s claim in the 2005 video that was made public weeks before the election that he grabbed women by the genitals.

The Washington march featured speakers, celebrity appearances and a protest walk along the National Mall.

Among the well-known figures who attended were Madonna, who swore while discussing Trump before singing her 1989 hit “Express Yourself,” singer-actress Cher and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who waved to supporters as his walked his yellow Labrador, Ben.

WOMEN’S VOTES

Clinton won the popular vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election by around 2.9 million votes and had an advantage among women of more than 10 percentage points. Trump, however, easily won the state-by-state Electoral College vote that actually determines the winner.

Trump offered few if any olive branches to his opponents in his Friday inauguration speech in which he promised to put “America First.”

“He has never seemed particularly concerned about people who oppose him, he almost fights against them instinctively,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

But the lawmakers whom Trump will rely on to achieve his policy goals, including building a wall on the Mexican border and replacing the 2010 healthcare reform law known as Obamacare, may be more susceptible to the negative public opinion the march illustrates, Levesque said.

“Members of Congress are very sensitive to the public mood and many of them are down here this week to see him,” Levesque said.

At the New York march, 42-year-old Megan Schulz, who works in communications, said she worried that Trump was changing the standards of public discourse.

“The scary thing about Donald Trump is that now all the Republicans are acquiescing to him and things are starting to become normalized,” Schulz said. “We can’t have our president talking about women the way he does.”

Anti-Shia Hatred Like This is Anti-Muslim Hatred & Cannot be Accepted

Anti-Shia bigotry and hatred like this is unacceptable, yet when it comes from UK residents, it is even more troubling and especially when young men like this truly believe that they can dehumanise others who call themselves Muslims. ‘Takfirism’ like this is deeply troubling and raises to mind many more questions as to where this young person has picked up this ideology. It is ideology that is not accepted by the vast number of Sunni Muslims though it is being fomented on the back of Saudi and Iranian political tensions and further exacerbated by the civil war in Syria and we have previously documented spikes in anti-Shia hate incidents in the UK, which correlated on the back of the Syrian civil war.

However, we wanted to raise this case to send out a clear message that anti-Shia hatred is not only unacceptable, it needs to be challenged and called out. For far too long, these issues have been left and people have decided not to challenge them.

The comments by the Twitter user @ZaynHasani even shows him pinning anti-Shia comments to his Twitter account. Assuming the picture he has posted is Mr Hasani, how could such a young man be influenced by such comments of hatred against members of the Shia Muslim communities. His hatred against women also comes through in one of the tweets below and we are concerned by this rhetoric and the extremely polarised views that this person is showing.

If you come across anti-Shia comments that are emanating from the United Kingdom, please do report them into us at Tell MAMA, info@tellmamauk.org. This also goes for anti-Sunni and anti-Ahmaddiya comments.

 

Trump’s Presidency Must be a Presidency for All

It is not just Muslims living in the US who are apprehensive about the future. Hispanic, LGBT, Jewish and other groups have also raised their fears about a Trump presidency though, there are some within these communities who have joined the Trump bandwagon. Of those who have engaged with Trump’s campaigns and administration, they do so knowing that Trump has no political experience since he has never held political office, yet he has got this far and that cannot be brushed aside.

What is clear is that Trump’s future is based on being a President for all communities and he cannot be seen to be partisan and divisive, which is easy to say, giving his penchant for 140 characters on Twitter and statements that have reduced trust in him from some minority groups, whilst lambasting mainstream press agencies in the US. His recent outburst at CNN for promoting ‘fake news’ left many aghast and showed a combative approach that does not instil and build confidence on a wider level. The more Trump is seen to be aggressive on camera, the greater the polarisation of opinions about him, not only in the US, but across the globe. This is not good for national stability and instability means that community tensions will come out to the foreground.

Nor can we simply write off Trump as someone who simply tapped into disaffection to win the Presidency. His ability to ‘speak to’ and play on the fears of marginalised white (and other) communities in the US, means that he has a base and an audience which he can rally when he wants and particularly when Trump can’t get his own way.

The next four years will certainly be turbulent, yet they will also be exciting. There is, however, one thing we can be certain of. America will continue to be divided along lines of race, economic deprivation and social exclusion. If Trump can reduce the impacts of the last two, he can start to try and address the deep racial divides that coarse within rural America. These are fault-lines that seem intractable, but with vision, energy, a willingness to listen and reaching out to communities, anything can be overcome.

So its “goodbye Obama” and “hello Trump”.

OIC envoy calls for U.N. intervention to avoid genocide of Rohingya Muslims

The United Nations should intervene in Myanmar’s Rakhine State to stop further escalation of violence against Rohingya Muslims and avoid another genocide like in Cambodia and Rwanda, said the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s special envoy to Myanmar.

The conflict which has left at least 86 dead and an estimated 66,000 people fleeing into Bangladesh since it started on Oct. 9, 2016, is no longer an internal issue but of international concern, said Syed Hamid Albar, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Special Envoy to Myanmar.

Syed Hamid said the OIC should seek U.N. intervention. His comments come ahead of a special OIC meeting called by Malaysia on Thursday to discuss measures to deal with the conflict affecting the Rohingya minority, who are predominantly Muslim.

“We don’t want to see another genocide like in Cambodia or Rwanda,” Syed Hamid told Reuters in an interview ahead of the meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

“The international community just observed, and how many people died? We have lessons from the past, for us to learn from and see what we can do,” he said.

The OIC represents 57 states and acts as the collective voice of the Muslim world.

Refugees, residents and human rights groups say Myanmar soldiers have committed summary executions, raped Rohingya women and burned homes since military operations started in the north of Rakhine State on Oct. 9.

The government of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has denied the accusations, saying many of the reports are fabricated, and it insists the strife in Rakhine State, where many Rohingya live, is an internal matter.

The military operations were in response to attacks on security posts near Myanmar’s border with Bangladesh that killed nine police officers. The Myanmar government has said that militants with overseas Islamist links were responsible.

A Myanmar government spokesman said it will not attend the OIC meet as it is not an Islamic country, but that it had already made its actions clear to ASEAN members at their last meeting in December, and that U.N. intervention would only end up facing “unwanted resistance from local people”.

“So that’s why the international community should have a positive approach and understand widely our country’s conflict situation,” said Zaw Htay, a spokesman for the office of Myanmar President Htin Kyaw.

About 56,000 Rohingya now live in Muslim-majority Malaysia having fled previous unrest in Myanmar.

Malaysia, which is Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, broke the tradition of non-intervention by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by speaking out on the conflict, calling on the 10-member bloc to coordinate humanitarian aid and investigate alleged atrocities committed against the ethnic group.

Zaw Htay criticised Malaysia for its outspoken position on the conflict, saying the country should manage “its own political crisis” and “avoid encouraging extremism and violence” in Myanmar.

“Our new government is working seriously and carefully on the situation in Rakhine. We are working on a very complicated and tough problem with this internal conflict, so we need time to prevent it happening again,” Zaw Htay said.

African-born actor in Hungary: ‘People just see me as a migrant’

Marcelo Cake-Baly came to study in Hungary from wartorn Guinea-Bissau in 1976, and has been working as a tram driver in Budapest for over a decade despite being a trained economist.

Now, at the age of 58, his life has taken a new turn. He has made his acting debut in a Hungarian movie about the life of an African refugee who settles in Budapest to work as a security guard in a shopping center.

The film, “The Citizen”, shows the difficulties of integration in Hungarian society through a tormented love story. The main character, Wilson, applies for citizenship and falls in love with a history and language teacher who tries to prepare him for the tough citizenship exam.

Director Roland Vranik’s feature film will be shown in cinemas on January 26 – at a time when Hungary has barely any refugees left, after its right-wing government raised a fence on the southern border and imposed tough laws to keep out a wave of migrants.

Vranik and Hungarian writer Ivan Szabo crafted their script in 2012, aiming to show how Africans in Budapest put down roots. They started to shoot the movie in 2015, just as Hungary became a transit route for hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

“What we think does not matter for them: they just need a safe place and clean water. They just need days when nobody tries to kill them,” Vranik said.

He said “mass psychosis” took hold when Europeans became scared of the wave of migrants. But Vranik remains optimistic: he believes people are still ready to help those in need and says his film is “completely timeless and also spaceless.”

“It can be anywhere in Europe,” he said.

Cake-Baly obtained Hungarian citizenship in the mid-1990s and has lived in the country for four decades. But the migration crisis had an impact on him.

“In my thoughts … I feel I am Hungarian, but in the street I look African. It is not written on me … that I have a Hungarian family, I work here, I am a tax-paying citizen,” he said.

“People just see me as a migrant.”

He recalls his university years in the early 1980s as happy ones, when he faced no discrimination.

But he lost his job as an economist shortly before communism collapsed in 1989. After trying his luck studying in Belgium for three years, he returned to Hungary and eventually found work on Budapest’s trams.

He said the migration crisis had divided European societies and made life harder for immigrants.

He asked a young man at a tram stop recently not to smoke, as it was forbidden.

“He told me he was at home, and I was a migrant … and I should have drowned in the sea,” Cake-Baly recalled.

Cake-Baly Marcelo (R) and Arghavan Shekari (C), two main cast members of the Hungarian movie “The Citizen,” pose for a photo with the film’s director, Roland Vranik, in Budapest, Hungary January 17, 2017.

‘Draconian’ EU security laws target Muslims – Amnesty International

A raft of new counterterrorism laws across Europe discriminate against Muslims and refugees, spreading fear and alienation, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday.

The human rights group sounded the alarm over security measures adopted over the past two years in 14 EU nations, including expanded surveillance powers. During that period, militant attacks have killed some 280 people in France, Belgium and Germany.

The attacks, mostly claimed by the Islamic State group, have fanned tensions over immigration, fuelled the popularity of right-wing parties and made security a key theme in upcoming French, Dutch and German elections.

“Right across the EU regional space we see Muslims and foreigners being equated with terrorists,” said Julia Hall, an Amnesty International expert on counterterrorism and author of the report. “This stereotyping so disproportionately affects these communities that there is a high degree of fear and alienation.”

She warned that “draconian” surveillance measures and powers of search, detention and arrest like those introduced in France since November 2015, when attacks killed 130 people, could be abused to target activists or minority groups that did not pose a genuine threat.

Amnesty is critical of a European Union draft law, to be adopted this year, that seeks to punish people for travelling or planning to travel to join a terrorist group. It says the wording of the law is unclear and it casts too wide a net.

A European Commission spokeswoman rejected Amnesty’s criticism and said the EU would closely monitor for potential abuses in the bloc’s 28 member states.

EU Security Commissioner Julian King said he agreed with the report that fundamental rights must not be put at risk. “That is what the terrorists are attacking,” he said on Twitter.

APOLOGISTS

New measures to crack down on glorifying or being an apologist for terrorism, Amnesty said, were shrinking the space for freedom of expression. In France in 2015, a third of more than 380 people prosecuted for apologising for terrorism were minors, it said.

The rights group condemned what it dubbed the “Orwellian” use of curfews, travel restrictions and police check-ins to monitor individuals who were not convicted of crimes and often did not know what they were accused of.

Hall criticised what she described as “governments looking at a person and saying: ‘You look very suspicious to me. So I’m going to restrict your behaviour because I think you might commit a crime.'”

France this month paid tribute to 17 people killed two years ago by Islamist militants in three days of violence that began with an attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Among other major attacks, suicide bombings in Brussels last March killed 32 people, and a Tunisian man mowed down 86 by driving a truck through a Bastille Day crowd in July in the French city of Nice. Another truck attack killed 12 in Berlin last month.

Singer Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration event

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday said on Saturday she was pulling out of a concert celebrating the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, citing an online article that cast the performance as a “betrayal” of her gay and lesbian fans.

The Tony-award winning singer, best known for her roles in the Broadway musicals “Dreamgirls” and “Your Arms Too Short to Box with God,” announced the cancellation in a letter first published by The Wrap, an entertainment industry news website.

“I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgment, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans,” Holliday said in the letter, which was released to Reuters by her representatives.

Holliday was not scheduled to perform at Friday’s inauguration itself but at an event at the Lincoln Memorial the night before called the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration.” Also scheduled to appear are country music star Toby Keith, rock band 3 Doors Down and Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight.

In a column for the Daily Beast website, entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon called Holliday a gay icon for her work on Broadway and said that Trump had surrounded himself with politicians who vocally oppose LGBT rights.

“For the gay community that has bolstered Holliday’s, in her own words, embattled and difficult career, and cheered on her recent successes, the news (of Holliday’s planned performance) feels like a betrayal. It is heartbreaking,” Fallon wrote.

In her letter, Holliday wrote that she had originally agreed to perform for Trump as a “bi-partisan songbird” who had sung for four presidents, both Republican and Democrat, dating back to Ronald Reagan.

“I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country,” Holliday wrote.

“Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” she said.

In addition to her career on Broadway, Holliday has found success on the pop charts and as a Gospel singer.

She won a Tony award in 1982 for her role as Effie White in the original production of “Dreamgirls” and two Grammy awards later that decade.

Washington protesters vow to fight for civil rights under Trump

U.S. civil rights activists vowed on Saturday to defend hard-fought gains in voting rights and criminal justice during the presidency of Donald Trump, kicking off a week of protests ahead of the Republican’s inauguration.

About 2,000 mostly black protesters ignored steady rain to march and rally near Washington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, as speakers urged them to fight for minority rights and President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which Trump has vowed to dismantle.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, the rally’s organizer and a veteran civil rights leader, said Democrats in Congress needed to be sent a simple message: “Get some backbone.”

“We march in the driving rain because we want the nation to understand that what has been fought for and gained, that you’re going to need more than one election to turn it around,” he said.

The rally drew fewer people than organizers had initially expected, but Sharpton said afterwards he was satisfied with the turnout, given the rain and temperatures hovering just above freezing.

“I really didn’t think we’d get those kind of numbers,” he said in a telephone interview.

Trump, a New York real estate developer, won with a populist platform that included promises to build a wall along the Mexican border, restrict immigration from Muslim countries and dismantle Obamacare.

His choice of Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, to become attorney general has raised concern among many on the left that Trump could weaken voting rights for minorities and roll back criminal justice reforms.

“We will march until hell freezes over, and when it does, we will march on the ice,” said Cornell William Brooks, president and chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The rally also included the Hispanic group La Raza, politicians, relatives of African-Americans slain by police, the National Urban League, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.

The rally came hours after Trump blasted U.S. Representative John Lewis after the Georgia Democrat and civil rights campaigner said Russia’s alleged hacking aimed at helping Trump put his legitimacy into question.

Trump replied on Twitter that Lewis should focus instead on his Atlanta district. “All talk, talk, talk – no action or results! Sad!,” he wrote.

About 30 groups, almost all of them anti-Trump, have gotten permits to protest before, during and after the inauguration.  Thousands of demonstrators have vowed to shut down the inauguration.

Washington police and the U.S. Secret Service plan to have some 3,000 extra officers and an additional 5,000 National Guard troops on hand for security.

By far the biggest event will be the Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration, which organizers say could draw 200,000 people.

French far right leader Marine Le Pen seen at Trump Tower

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was seen at Trump Tower on Thursday but a spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump said she was not meeting with him or his team.

“No meetings with anyone,” transition spokesman Sean Spicer said. “It’s a public building.”

Le Pen, whose National Front party holds anti-immigrant and anti-European Union views, was seen entering an elevator at the building, according to a Reuters witness. Earlier she was seen in the building with three men and declined to say why she was there, a media pool report said.

Reuters identified the men with Le Pen as Louis Aliot, her partner and vice president of National Front; Ludovic De Danne, her international affairs adviser; and Italian businessman George Lombardi, a Trump friend who lives in Trump Tower.

Le Pen, who is seen losing a runoff with conservative former prime minister Francois Fillon in next May’s election, has struggled to raise money for her campaign.

Her staff confirmed her multiple-day visit to New York, characterizing it as a private trip.

“She took two days to have a break,” campaign director David Rachline said.

Le Pen has sought to burnish her credentials with foreign appearances. Her staff in April announced that she would go to Britain to campaign for that country’s exit from the European Union but she ended up not going after being shunned by the Brexit campaign.

Trump Tower has been the site of a series of meetings between Trump, a Republican, and business and political leaders as he assembles his administration ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. It also has become a tourist destination since Trump’s surprise November election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The group Human Rights Watch mentioned both Trump and Le Pen in a report warning that the rise of populist leaders threatens global human rights. It cited Trump’s victory as well as Britain’s move to leave the European Union, which was led by Nigel Farage, who has been praised by Trump.

Le Pen is expected to earn enough votes in the first round of presidential voting in April to enter a second round election set for May 7.

Last summer Le Pen told a French magazine that if she were American, she would vote for Trump rather than Clinton. A week after Trump’s victory, Le Pen said she, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin “would be good for world peace.”

Myanmar, Bangladesh agree to start talks on Rohingya refugees

Myanmar has agreed to begin talks with Bangladesh over an estimated 65,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine State since attacks on border posts three months ago, a senior Myanmar official said on Thursday.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi dispatched a special envoy to Dhaka this week in a thaw in the troubled relations between the neighbours, who each see the stateless Rohingya as the other’s problem.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Suu Kyi’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kyaw Tin on Wednesday that Myanmar must accept back all “Myanmar nationals” in Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi premier’s spokesman said.

Aye Aye Soe, director general of Myanmar’s foreign affairs ministry, said the two countries would start discussions on an “identification and verification process”.

“If they find they are from Myanmar, they will be repatriated at the appropriate time,” she said, adding there was “no timeline” for the talks.

The agreement marks a rare bright spot in the two countries’ bilateral relations, which are complicated by as many as 500,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh after fleeing decades of persecution in Myanmar.

The United Nations says about 65,000 more people have fled the Muslim-majority northern part of Rakhine to Bangladesh since attacks that killed nine Myanmar border police on Oct. 9, sparking a heavy-handed security response.

Residents and refugees say Myanmar troops and police have carried out beatings, sexual assaults and extrajudicial killings, arbitrarily arrested villagers and set fire to homes. Myanmar has denied almost all the allegations.

The crisis has raised concerns from diplomats and human rights advocates that Myanmar’s military remains unaccountable, despite a Suu Kyi-led civilian government taking power more than nine months ago.

DENIED CITIZENSHIP

A quick resolution seems unlikely as many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar see the Rohingya – whom they call “Bengalis” – as interlopers not deserving of citizenship, despite some tracing their lineage inside Myanmar’s borders back centuries.

Officials in Bangladesh, where the Rohingya are also not accepted, refer to “Muslim nationals of Myanmar”.

“If they are Myanmar nationals they will be repatriated here,” said Myanmar’s Aye Aye Soe.

Asked what the term “Myanmar nationals” referred to, she said: “It could be citizens or it could be people from Myanmar side.”

Aye Aye Soe restated Myanmar’s position after a previous verification process that only 2,415 of those living in Bangladesh from past exoduses were from Myanmar.

The new talks will focus on those who have arrived in Bangladesh since the recent bout of violence, she added.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said that, with the Myanmar delegation’s visit, the repatriation process was “heading towards the next step, quite evidently.”

While keeping relations with Myanmar “friendly,” Bangladesh’s government wants the Rohingya out of its border area so tourism can develop there, he told reporters on Thursday.

“We want to see them leave Bangladesh quickly,” Mahmood Ali added.

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