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Myanmar govt asked to stop exploration in disputed waters


November 3, 2008

Myanmar-Bangladesh Maritime Dispute:
Myanmar govt asked to stop exploration in disputed waters

Bangladesh has protested an alleged intrusion by Burma (Myanmar) over its maritime boundary for oil and gas exploration, asking the Burmese military government to stop such activities on its territory, German news agency DPA reported, quoting local media.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Touhid Hossain called in the Burmese ambassador to Dhaka, U Pe Thann Oo, to request an immediate stop to any exploration in the disputed territory, the reports said.

A protest note "categorically emphasised that the Government of Bangladesh reserves the right to protect its interests and urged the government of Burma to ensure the withdrawal of their marine vessels and stoppage of any exploration work until the delimitation of maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Burma is resolved," a foreign ministry statement said.

The note mentioned the reported intrusion of Burmese vessels near Bangladesh deep sea block 08-13, where Burmese authorities started oil and gas exploration in Bangladesh territory of the Bay of Bengal.

They said that Burma breached its commitment with Bangladesh that none of the sides will go for mineral explorations in the areas unless their disputes were settled through dialogue.

Bangladesh also intensified naval patrols in the Bay of Bengal near the disputed site. Both Bangladesh and Burma claim ownership of the area in the Bay of Bengal, foreign ministry sources said.

The Burmese authorities' exploration began at a time when the two neighbours were in dialogue to demarcate their maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal, believed to have abundant mineral resources.

A first round of talks in April ended inconclusively in Dhaka, while both sides agreed to continue the dialogue.

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