Persuade Myanmar to take back Rohingyas: PM

Publish: 10:34 AM, August 8, 2018 | Update: 10:34:AM, August 8, 2018

DHAKA  – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today renewed her call to the international community, including Japan, to persuade Myanmar to take back their Rohingya nationals from Bangladesh.

“The Rohingyas must return and for this, the global community will have to persuade Myanmar to take them back from Bangladesh,” she said when Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono paid a courtesy call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence here this afternoon.

After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

The premier said a huge number of Rohingyas had fled to Bangladesh since August last year and they outnumbered the local people in Cox’s Bazar causing various problems.

She said local people of Cox’s Bazar are suffering a lot as their arable land was occupied by the Rohingyas. “So, we are also helping the local people,” she said.

Referring to signing of a deal with Myanmar on the Rohingya repatriation, Sheikh Hasina said though Naypyitaw has agreed to take back the Rohingyas, they do not take any action in this regard. “We’re continuing discussion with Myanmar for the Rohingya repatriation,” she said.

The premier said the international organisations’ staff and volunteers working in Cox’s Bazar for mitigating the sufferings of the Rohingyas could also help them (Rohingyas) in Myanmar after their repatriation.

The Japanese foreign minister told Sheikh Hasina that he had talks with Myanmar President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on the Rohingya issue during his recent tour to Myanmar.

He said the Myanmar leaders informed him that they had inked an MoU on the Rohingya repatriation. “I’ve asked them to speed up the activities for constructing houses and schools so that Rohingyas can live in Rakhaine state in a better condition on their return from Bangladesh,” he said.

Taro Kono said he also asked the Myanmar authorities to send their teams to Bangladesh to visit the refugee camps, talk to Bangladesh authorities and take back the Rohingyas.

The Japanese foreign minister said Japan will provide two million US dollars to Bangladesh for the assistance of Rohingyas so that they do not face any problem in the ongoing monsoon.

Mentioning that Japan has a “comprehensive partnership” with both Bangladesh and Myanmar, he said Tokyo will continue to support Dhaka for its development efforts.

Taro Kono said the Japanese entrepreneurs are interested to make more investment in Bangladesh.

In this connection, the premier said the government has already allocated land for the Japanese investors in special economic zones so that they can make investment there.

The Japanese foreign minister highly appreciated the Bangladesh government for its prompt action after the Holey Artisan Cafe attack in Gulshan in 2016.

In reply, Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken a very strong stand against terrorism.

Taro Kono sought Bangladesh’s support for Japan’s candidature for hosting the World Expo 2025 as well as Japan’s candidature for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the 2023-24 term.

PM’s Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, Principal Coordinator on the SDG Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office Md Abul Kalam Azad, Bangladesh Ambassador in Tokyo Rubaba Fatima and Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Hiroyasu Izumi were present on the occasion, among others.

The Japanese foreign minister arrived in the city today on a two-day visit to further promote the Bangladesh-Japan comprehensive partnership and discuss other issues of mutual interest including Rohingya crisis.