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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Bangladesh-Burma prisoner switch
Ousted Prime Minister Khin Nyunt
Ties improved with a visit last year by ex-Burma PM Khin Nyunt
Bangladesh and Burma have exchanged nearly 200 prisoners held in each others' jails for crimes including trespassing and smuggling.

They were exchanged following a meeting between border forces of the two countries in Bangladesh's south-eastern town of Teknaf.

An official of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) said Bangladesh received 20 of its nationals and returned 172 Burmese.

Correspondents say such a large exchange is rare.

Muslim refugees

The BDR official said the prisoners included some who had been held for nearly a decade.

About 600 people from Burma and Bangladesh are still imprisoned.

Relations between the neighbours, who share a 320km (200 mile) border, have improved since a visit to Bangladesh by then Burmese Prime Minister Khin Nyunt last year.

Relations between the two countries became strained in the early 1990s when more than 250,000 Burmese crossed into Bangladesh alleging military persecution.

Most of the refugees, from the minority Rohingya Muslim community, have since returned, but about 20,000 still remain in camps in south-eastern Bangladesh.

Officials in Dhaka say they want a full repatriation of the refugees, but several rounds of talks between the two countries have yielded no result.

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18 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
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06 Mar 02 |  South Asia

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