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Play active role to resolve Rohingya crisis

Play active role to resolve Rohingya crisis

Prime minister asks envoys
Play active role to resolve Rohingya crisis

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon Bangladesh’s envoys in different countries to play active role in resolving the Rohingya crisis, as she inaugurated the three-day first ever conference of ambassadors, high commissioners and permanent representatives stationed in over 50 countries in six continents. While delivering her speech at the inaugural session of the conference at a hotel in the capital, she also asked the envoys to make sure so that the expatriates Bangladeshis are not harassed.

Felicitating the foreign ministry for concluding the deal with Myanmar on the repatriation of the Rohingyas, who arrived after October 2016, the prime minister said, “We want to resolve the crisis maintaining good relations with the neighbour.”

“There is international pressure… But we have been able to reach an understanding through bilateral discussion. We hope that we will be able to send back these Myanmar nationals by this agreement,” she said.

Undoubtedly, she added, “The international pressure is also needed.”

“You will also play your role in this regard,” said the head of the government, describing the Rohingya issue as a big problem.

Referring to enormous support Bangladesh got from the international community on this crisis, she said, “I think Bangladesh never ever earned such huge diplomatic success.”

Hasina expressed surprise as to why Rohingyas started coming to Bangladesh in 1978 despite the fact the country has no problem with Myanmar and called upon the researchers to find out the reasons.

About serving Bangladeshis abroad, the prime minister asked the ambassadors and diplomats to ensure that the

expatriates are not harassed. “A big portion of our foreign reserve comes from those who work abroad. And, that money is used to pay for your salaries and allowances,” she mentioned.

Hasina called upon the envoys to consider their jobs as an assignment to protect the interests of the country, saying, “Each of you is a small Bangladesh in the country you are posted.”

She also directed the diplomats to guard against anti-Bangladesh propaganda and to do the needful to help bring the absconding Bangabandhu killers to justice.

The prime minister reiterated Bangladesh’s zero tolerance policy against terrorism and extremism, saying, “We will never allow any insurgency groups to use the soil of the country to operate against our neighbours.

“Friendship to all and malice to none,” she reminded the principal principle of Bangladesh’s foreign policy adopted by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Noting that preference in diplomacy is changing, the prime minister said earlier political issues used to dominate it while now economic affairs have become more prominent in diplomacy.

Bangladeshi diplomacy needs to be able to cater to the needs of the changed scenario, she added.

Hasina also asked the envoys to make efforts to increase trade and commerce with different countries, attract more foreign direct investment, find new markets and explore new labour market.

At the programme, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali hoped that from now on this conference will be organised annually which will provide a platform to discuss all the aspects.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam requested the ambassadors and high commissioners to remain careful about Myanmar and Pakistan.

In his address of welcome, foreign secretary Shahidul Haque described the day as a memorable one.

The three-day conference will have seven working sessions on various contemporary affairs.

The day one had sessions on ‘Bangladesh Towards Vision 2021 and Beyond (Graduation as Middle Income Country) and Implementation of SDG’, ‘Bangladesh Foreign Policy: Challenges and Potentials’ and ‘Trade-Finance-Investment: Opportunities and Challenges’.

On the second day today, sessions on ‘Blue Economy and Connectivity’, ‘Labour Migration: Issues and Challenges’ and ‘Regional and Global Multilateral Processes, Institutions, Issues’ will be held.

Besides, there will be a briefing by foreign minister Ali on ‘Rohingya Crisis: Diplomacy in the Neighbourhood and Beyond’. Ambassador to Myanmar Sufiur Rahman will moderate the briefing. The foreign minister will also host a dinner for the envoys.

On the concluding day tomorrow, a session on ‘Administrative, Protocol and Consular Issues: Best Practices, Challenges and Way Forward’ will be held. There will be also interactions with the senior secretaries to the government and chambers and business community. The event will conclude with a meeting with president followed by a dinner at Bangabhaban.

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