More than 40,000 people returned to Syria’s Ghouta – agencies

MOSCOW, Apr 3:  Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that more than 40,000 civilians who had fled Syria’s eastern Ghouta have returned, Interfax agency reported. (AGENCIES)
UNSC planning visits to
Myanmar, Bangladesh, Iraq in April
The UN Security Council will undertake visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh this month to assess the Rohingya crisis situation on the ground, President of the Council Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra said.
Meza-Cuadra, the Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations and President of the Council for April, shared the information with reporters here yesterday and said the Council is also planning a trip to Iraq.
The details of the visits are still being worked out, he said.
“There is a willingness to visit those two places and we are now defining the terms of reference and the itinerary for those trips,” he said, sharing the programme of the Council’s work for the month.
He said the Council has “readiness” of the government of Myanmar to “accept the visit”, during which they will try to visit the Rakhine state and get a first-hand overview of the Rohingya crisis.
“Obviously we are interested in the Rakhine state and we believe that the Council will benefit a great deal and also in really maintaining interest in this topic. There is nothing better than visiting, making a visit on the ground to see how the situation is really… So we are working with the leaders on the visit,” he said.
Meza-Cuadra said once the Council visit takes place, and “once we are on the ground, we will convey the relevant messages”.
He added that there are “different positions on this topic” within the Council and all this will be reflected in the terms of reference of the visit that are still being drawn up.
“We have expressed our interest in visiting Rakhine state. I hope that will be possible, I don’t think there should be any difficulties. It will give a comprehensive overview of the situation,” he added.
Since August 2017, nearly 700,000 minority Muslim Rohingyas have fled violence in Myanmar across the border into Bangaldesh’s Cox’s Bazar, joining several hundred thousand more that were already settled there in overcrowded camps.
Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said about 150,000 Rohingya refugees, who fled Myanmar into Cox’s Bazar are living in flood-prone areas and must be relocated ahead of the coming rainy season.
On the proposed visit to Iraq, which will be holding elections in May, Meza-Cuadra said the country has made significant progress in the fight against terrorism, against Daesh (or ISIS).
“The country needs support from the international community for rebuilding the country and to ensure reconciliation. These are the kinds of messages we will consider transmitting,” he said. (PTI)