Momen for more US sanctions on Myanmar over Rohingya issue

Publish: 7:46 PM, February 27, 2021 | Update: 7:46:PM, February 27, 2021

DHAKA, – Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has hoped that the US Biden Administration would put more political and economic sanctions on Myanmar to create a conducive environment for safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine. He also requested the new US government to play a leading role, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to bring about a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis.

The foreign minister made the remarks during his interaction with the US Think Tank ‘Newlines Institute on Strategy and Policy’ in Washington DC on Friday, a foreign ministry press release said here today. Dr Momen noted that Bangladesh Government looks forward to the US Government’s concrete steps and leading role, including his proposal to appoint a Special Envoy on Rohingya, in achieving a sustainable solution to this Rohingya crisis.

Bangladesh foreign minister also hoped to work closely with the US administration in this regard. He said the only durable solution to this Rohingya crisis is the repatriation of persecuted 1.1 million displaced people, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh, to their land of origin in Myanmar. Momen also briefed on how Bangladesh government is working for the welfare of Rohingyas during COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of which there was not a single case of death due to COVID-19 in the Rohingya camps.

He also explained the context and rationale of relocating some of the Rohingya population from the overcrowded Kutupalong camps to Bhashanchar. Director of the Institute Dr. Azeem Ibrahim moderated the event. Among others dignitaries, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Commissioner from the US Congress on Religious Freedom, and eminent journalists, Members of Congress, State Department officials, UN personnel, and senior leadership of the OIC attended the event, both physically and online.

Later, the foreign minister attended a virtual event titled “Bangladesh-US bilateral relations and Rohingya issue”, organized by the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The session was moderated by Ambassador Isobel Coleman. At the virtual event Dr. Momen highlighted the socio-economic development of Bangladesh, tackling of COVID-19 pandemic and efficient management of the ongoing vaccination program in Bangladesh under the judicious direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Referring to his recent discussion with the US Secretary of State, he expressed satisfaction over the existing bilateral partnership between the two countries and hoped to enhance it further towards a strategic level.

On the same day, the foreign minister virtually met US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky from Illinois, who appreciated Bangladesh for sheltering a huge number of Rohingyas. Dr. Momen thanked the US Government for its humanitarian and political support to Bangladesh to cope with the Rohingya exodus.

He also placed a request for US lawmaker’s support to influence US Government for taking more effective measures like imposing economic sanction and withdrawing GSP facilities of Myanmar.

Both sides agreed to have deeper and wider engagement in the coming days ahead. Momen also had a telephonic discussion with a high official of the Department of State as a follow up of his earlier conversation with US Secretary of State on last Tuesday.

The foreign minister is currently visiting Washington DC on an official trip to reach out the new US government to further enhance the bilateral relations and to convey Bangladesh’s willingness to work closely with the new Biden administration.