Monday, March 19, 2012

Dhaka won't pull out of UN court: Dipu Moni

Bangladesh will not withdraw from the UN court to have bilateral solution to maritime boundary dispute with India, says the foreign minister.

"We can always discuss the issue bilaterally with our neighbour, but we will not withdraw from the court for the sake of discussion," Dipu Moni said at a press briefing on Monday.

Bangladesh moved the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2009 to settle the maritime boundary dispute with India. On Mar 14, in a verdict over similar dispute with Myanmar, the UN court awarded Bangladesh 111,000 square kilometers of area in the Bay of Bengal.

"We cannot settle the dispute bilaterally and that's why we went to the court," Moni said.

The minister said she and Indian high commissioner Pankaj Saran had discussed the issue, but in the meeting he did not propose for bilateral discussion.

She, however, said if they want to have bilateral talks, Bangladesh is open to it.


The minister said the authorities concerned would determine the offshore blocks for exploration in the Bay.

"We cannot explore the blocks that was fixed earlier as they do not belong to us," she said.

"We want to have a just solution without hurting the legitimate interests of our neighbours."

Additional foreign secretary Khurshed Alam said now it is possible to redefine the blocks that belong to Bangladesh.


This is a great victory for both the countries as now the long-standing dispute stands resolved, Moni said.

"With this verdict the friendly relationship with Myanmar would move forward leaving the dispute behind," she hoped.

The minister informed that the verdict in dispute with India is to be delivered in 2014.