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Bangladesh To Send Diplomats To Myanmar To Resolve Territorial Dispute

The government of Bangladesh announced Monday that it was sending a diplomatic delegation to Myanmar to resolve a territorial dispute between the two neighboring south Asian countries in the Bay of Bengal.

Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, the foreign advisor of the Bangladesh caretaker government, told reporters on Monday that the Bangladeshi delegation for talks aimed at resolving the territorial row would be headed by foreign secretary Touhid Hossain.

Talking to reporters after conveying his nation's protest over the presence of Myanmar's vessels within Bangladesh's territorial waters to the Myanmar Ambassador U Phae Thann Oo, Dr. Chowdhury said that his country wants to avoid confrontation and prefers to settle the issue through diplomatic negotiations.

He warned that Bangladesh would take all steps necessary to protect its territory and integrity, but added that his country does not want to "go for any confrontation as Myanmar is our friendly neighbor."

Tensions escalated in the region after some four Burmese exploration ships, escorted by a couple of Burmese naval vessels, began oil and gas exploration activities in the disputed waters on Sunday.

Bangladesh immediately registered its protest with the Myanmar government over the "intrusion", and demanded the withdrawal of the Myanmar vessels until the maritime boundary can be agreed upon through peaceful negotiations.

Bangladesh also dispatched its naval vessels to the disputed area, and currently the naval ships of both countries are engaged in a tense standoff in the Bay of Bengal.

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