Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) - Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Friday had a bilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The two sides discussed various issues of bilateral interest and the issue of “sustainable” Rohingya repatriation, said the Foreign Ministry here.
The Indonesian foreign minister deeply appreciated the role of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for providing shelter to 1.1 million Rohingyas.
She promised that her country will engage with Myanmar through all possible approaches and assured a greater support from the Asean platform in support of the repatriation.
FM meets D8 Secretary General
Secretary General of the D8 Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari called on the Bangladesh Foreign Minister at the same venue.
During the meeting, he briefed the foreign minister about various initiatives undertaken by the D8 – particularly in the fields of cooperation in the newly established Chamber of Commerce and Industry, technology and innovation, universal health care services and establishing FIZs (D8 Free Industrial Zones).
The D8 Secretary General also briefed the foreign minister about the upcoming D8 Summit which Bangladesh is going to host at the end of 2019.
FM meets Maldivian FM
Foreign Minister Dr Momen and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid had another meeting when they discussed the Rohingya issue.
The two sides also discussed various other issues of bilateral interest.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen urged his Maldivian counterpart to exert all possible measures for engaging Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas to their rightful homeland in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
Among other areas, the two sides discussed women empowerment and gender mainstreaming.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen briefed the Maldivian foreign minister about the efforts and initiatives undertaken by the government of Bangladesh and in particular by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for engendering a gender sensitive perspective in all three areas of the state – the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.
He gave highlights of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s initiatives to ensure gender balance even at the grassroots politics and in the representative/elected bodies.
Later, the two sides discussed engaging more proactively in the field of Blue Economy – in particular for sustainable fishing and fisheries and also for tourism.
The Bangladesh foreign minister proposed to the Maldivian foreign minister to explore the possibility of exchanging experts in these two fields and synergise the developmental ambitions of the two countries and devise innovative measures to connect, innovate and leverage each other’s specific potentials and capabilities.
Abdulla Shahid deeply appreciated the proposals made by Momen and promised to look into the matter at the soonest.
Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) - Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swarajon Friday deeply appreciated the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in fighting the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism noting that both Bangladesh and India are victims of terrorism.
She made the remarks during her bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The two sides discussed various issues of bilateral and regional interest including the issue of sustainable Rohingya repatriation.
They also discussed cooperation in trade, finance and regional economic integration, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen highlighted the need for working together in areas such as inland waterways connectivity, coastal shipping and connecting service sectors – such as financial and capital markets.
He conveyed the need to devise innovative mechanisms and instruments to leverage the economic potentials of both countries in a win-win manner and connect regional centers of trade and finance for harnessing higher levels of development synergy.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen conveyed the resolve of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to fight terror and violent extremism in all their manifestations.
He highlighted Bangladesh’s strong actions for combating financing for terror and also in dismantling terror outfits.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressed her deep satisfaction for the intense level of cooperation between the two countries in an atmosphere of amity and trust.
Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) - Riva Ganguly Das arrived here on Friday night to take up her assignment as the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.
Prior to her arrival, she was the Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
A career-diplomat, Riva Ganguly who speaks Bengali, Hindi, English and Spanish, joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986 and is a Post Graduate in Political Science from Delhi University.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she was a Lecturer at Delhi University. She commenced her diplomatic career spanning 33 years from Spain.
Thereafter, she was at Headquarters dealing with External Publicity, Nepal and Passport/Visa work. She was Head of the Cultural Wing of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
After her return from Dhaka, she took over as Director at the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Division and participated in environmental negotiations, particularly climate change.
She was the Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of India, The Hague and served as Consul General of India in Shanghai from 2008 to 2012.
After her return from China, she headed the Public Diplomacy Division and later the Latin America & Caribbean Division in the Ministry of External Affairs.
She was Ambassador of India to Romania with concurrent accreditation to Albania & Moldova and thereafter served as India’s Consul General in New York.
Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) - Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Friday called for collective action to ensure accountability and justice to Rohingyas and their immediate repatriation to their homeland in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
He was referring to the OIC’s decision to pursue the legal path to justice through the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as was decided in the Banjul meeting of the OIC Ministerial Committee early last month.
At the 46th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Abu Dhabi, the Foreign Minister also called for a stronger resolve from the OIC to fight terror and violent extremism in all their manifestations.
Dr Momen conveyed the consistent efforts of the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to fight terror with both hard and soft measures.
Bangladesh chaired the 45th CFM, held in Dhaka in 2018, and for the last one year led the various OIC processes.
The Foreign Minister opened the conference today at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and handed over the CFM Chair to the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the CFM as a guest of honour, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
The theme chosen for this year’s Council is ‘50 years of Islamic cooperation: Road map for prosperity and development’ and it continues in a seamless thematic from the Bangladesh CFM’s theme of “Islamic Values for Sustainable Peace, Solidarity and Development”.
Highlighting the intricate inter-linkages amongst challenges of economy, ecology and security, the Foreign Minister noted that Bangladesh is striving hard to energise the OIC in a spirit of cooperation, particularly for peace building and conflict mitigation, implementation of the OIC 2025 Programme of Action (POA), connectivity, regional economic integration, SDGs, STI and humanitarian priorities.
All countries, including the new Chair – United Arab Emirates - lauded Bangladesh’s leadership role in the OIC.
In her speech, Sushma Swaraj referred to Bangladesh as a primary pillar of India’s strategic partnership with not only the Muslim world but also for various other processes in economy and security for the prosperity and stability of the region.
In the afternoon, the Foreign Minister had a bilateral meeting with Sushma Swaraj at a hotel and discussed issues of bilateral interest – which included, amongst others, trade, finance and connectivity.
The two sides discussed various regional issues and reaffirmed their resolve to address strategic issues together.
The Foreign Minister also met his counterparts from the Maldives, Indonesia, the Gambia, Malaysia and several other key ministers on the sidelines of the CFM and discussed issues related to cooperation in Blue Economy, production, finance and trade.
OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Otthaimen thanked Bangladesh and the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for its pioneering work in the field of sustainable development and countering terrorism and violent extremism.
Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB) – Bangladesh has asked Myanmar to take more specific measures for safe return of the Rohingyas saying it does not want anything except their safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable return to their place of origin in Myanmar.
“We don’t want anything except a safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar. We expect the Security Council’s continued leadership to resolve the Rohingya crisis,” said Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque.
He made the remarks during a meeting on the situation in Myanmar held at the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday, according to a press release of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations.
On addressing the accountability issues, the Foreign Secretary said Myanmar’s own investigation process seems to have failed time and again. “Therefore, existing UN mechanism needs to be initiated.”
He urged Myanmar to ensure full implementation of the MoU among Myanmar, UNDP and UNHCR as well as the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.
“We’ve been hearing that most of the recommendations of the Annan Commission have already been implemented. Had it been so, I can assure you the situation on the ground would have been improved vastly,” said the Foreign Secretary.
He said it is very natural for one to ask why Rohingyas are not willing to return voluntarily and why Bangladesh is still having fresh arrival as of today.
UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener also briefed the UNSC on her recent visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar in this regard.
Since her appointment as Special Envoy in April 2018, Burgener has visited Myanmar five times and Bangladesh thrice. Her most recent visit to Myanmar was from 19 to 28 January, and she was last in Bangladesh in early February.
“Despite our sincere efforts, the repatriation process of the Rohingyas could not begin yet since a conducive environment for their return is yet to be created in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. What could be more unfortunate than this?” he said.
“Is Bangladesh paying for this situation for showing sympathy and providing shelter on humanitarian grounds to the minority Rohingya community who faced persecution and barbaric atrocities in their own land?” he posed a question.
The Foreign Secretary said the root cause of the Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar, and so does its solution.
On Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “zero tolerance” policy against terrorism, he said the government is determined to make sure that no terrorist group is allowed to use a single inch of Bangladesh’s land for the activities.
Unable to take new Rohingyas
The Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh will need to stop accepting more Rohingyas from Myanmar and accused its government of being “obstructionist” about bringing back more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence, reports AP.
Myanmar, meanwhile, continued to insist it is taking steps toward their return. Its ambassador appealed for patience from the U.N. Security Council, but several members complained about what they saw as lagging progress nearly a year after a council delegation traveled to see the crisis firsthand.
After a renewed flare-up in violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, new refugees are still crossing the border to Bangladesh, said Foreign Secretary ShahidulHaque.
“As far as repatriation is concerned, the situation has gone far from bad to worse,” he told the council, adding that his country “would no longer be in a position to accommodate more people from Myanmar.” He didn’t say when that might occur.
More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017, when Rohingya militants attacked Myanmar security forces in Rakhine, triggering a massive military retaliation that U.N. investigators have called genocide. The exodus came after hundreds of thousands of other Rohingya escaped previous bouts of violence and persecution.
Most people in Buddhist-majority Myanmar don’t accept the Rohingya Muslims as a native ethnic group. They are, instead, viewed as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, though generations of Rohingya have lived in Myanmar.
Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982 and lack access to education and hospitals.
The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution in December strongly condemning “gross human rights violations and abuses” committed against Myanmar’s Rohingya.
Myanmar has made agreements with Bangladesh and U.N. agencies to repatriate the Rohingya, but it hasn’t happened.
The Bangladeshi foreign secretary said Bangladesh had “tried everything” with Myanmar but met with “hollow promises and various obstructionist approaches.”
He urged the Security Council to visit the Rohingya refugee camps again and set up “safe zones” for people of all backgrounds in conflict-torn parts of Myanmar.
Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador said his country was taking steps to facilitate the Rohingya’s return. The envoy, Hau Do Suan, pointed to three dozen small-scale community projects planned “as soon as the security condition permits” and to a recent investment fair meant to generate development in Rakhine.
“We seek your understanding of the practicality and possibilities on the ground,” Hau told the council, adding that building trust in Rakhine “takes time and patience, as well as courage.”
The Rohingya crisis has been a sensitive subject in the council, where Myanmar’s close ally China is among members with veto power. The council did visit Myanmar and Bangladesh last April and May, and members last summer urged stepping up efforts to enable the Rohingya to return.
Several countries on the council vented frustrations Thursday.
“The time has come for the government of Myanmar to assume its responsibility to protect its citizens” and for the council “to use all means at its disposal to make tangible progress,” said the Dominican Republic’s envoy, Jose Singer.
But Russia and China advised the group not to be strident.
“The international community should keep its patience,” Chinese Deputy Ambassador Wu Haitao said.