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6 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 6 February, 2018 01:08:42 AM
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Root of Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar, solution too: PM

Swiss president for safe, voluntary return of Rohingyas; he visits Kutupalong camps today
UNB
Root of Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar, solution too: PM
Visiting Swiss President Alain Berset gestures during a conversation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital yesterday. PMO Photo

Stating that the root of Rohingya problem lies in Myanmar, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the international community, including Switzerland, to keep up pressure on Myanmar for an early peaceful solution to the crisis, reports UNB. The Prime Minister came up with the call in a statement after a meeting with visiting President of Swiss Confederation Alain Berset at her office. "We had a productive meeting today. We've discussed the Rohingya crisis during bilateral talks. I shared that as the root of the problem lies in Myanmar, the solution has to be found in Myanmar," she said.

"I put emphasis on full and immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission Report, as that will be critically important for the sustainable return of the Rohingya people, in safety and dignity, to their homes in Myanmar," the Prime Minister said .

At the meeting, she said, they discussed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a unique opportunity to build new global partnerships.

Sheikh Hasina said today both the countries agreed to conclude a framework MoU on collaboration on matters related to the implementation of Agenda 2030 in near future.

A joint declaration identifying the key areas for broader cooperation between the two countries was issued today, she said adding, "We may now ask our respective authorities to develop a roadmap for the implementation of our joint undertakings in a time-bound manner for the shared prosperity of our two people."

She thanked Alain Berset for making his historic first-ever official visit to Bangladesh and termed it a milestone in 45 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Hasina recalled her visit to Switzerland in December 2000 at the invitation of the then President of the Swiss Confederation. She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had great admiration about Switzerland for its democratic values, high economic achievement, unique foreign policy of peace, friendship and firm neutrality. “Bangabandhu, my father, looked at Switzerland as a model and wanted to develop Bangladesh as the ‘Switzerland of the East’.”

Switzerland was among the first few West European countries to recognize Bangladesh as an independent state on 13 March 1972. Ever since Switzerland became an important development partner and a time tested friend, she said.

Hasina appreciated the role played by Switzerland regarding the Rohingya crisis at different United Nations forums and beyond.

“I’m very happy to learn that high-powered business delegations from both countries exchanged views in the first-ever high-level Bangladesh-Swiss Business and Investment Forum held today.”

She hoped that Swiss companies will explore business opportunities in Bangladesh, and invited them to participate in sectors like oil and gas exploration, power and energy including renewable energy, critical infrastructure development, ICT, banking and insurance, and pharmaceuticals.

Terming the relations between Switzerland and Bangladesh as good, Swiss President Alain Berset said Switzerland with this visit demonstrates its support and solidarity for Bangladesh during the Rohingya crisis.

“The bilateral relations between our countries are good. We’ve had the opportunity to exchange today on areas — trade, development cooperation, cultural exchanges, and climate change — where both countries see a strong potential for development of our relations,” he said in another statement after the joint briefing.

Berset lauded Bangladesh’s efforts in further strengthening democracy and rule of law and the challenges that go with it.

He also greeted Bangladesh as it is heading towards emerging a middle-income nation. “We also welcome efforts in improving the business climate, legal security and the need for a sustainable business environment, including respect for human rights.”

Mentioning that the bilateral trade between the two countries has almost doubled over the past seven year, he said: “It’s my firm belief that the Swiss-Bangladeshi trade and investment will reach new heights in the future.”

Switzerland is very much interested in continuing this path with the government of Bangladesh, the private sector and civil society organizations, said Berset adding that a particular focus on the next couple of years will be on social inclusion, economic development, governance and safe migration.

Another report adds: Swiss President Alain Berset, now in Dhaka on a four-day official visit, said the situation of Rohingyas is of great concern to his country and laid emphasis on their safe and voluntary repatriation to Myanmar.

He appreciated Bangladesh for its role in dealing with the biggest humanitarian crisis.

“Switzerland commends your government and the people of Bangladesh for the solidarity, assistance and protection offered to the Rohingyas,” President Berset said in a statement after his official talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Swiss President said Switzerland pledged eight million Swiss Francs at the conference in Geneva in October for emergency humanitarian aid for the Rohingya refugees in the country.

“And I’m very pleased to announce today that this year Switzerland will provide an additional 12 million Francs for the Rohingya refugees,” he added. He said the agreement on repatriation between Bangladesh and Myanmar is a positive step towards a solution to the current crisis.

“It’ll be important that all returns are voluntary and safe, and carried out in dignity,” said the Swiss President.

President Berset will visit Cox’s Bazaron today to see Rohingya situation on the ground as Switzerland provides humanitarian aid for them.

He will leave Dhaka for Cox’s Bazar at 9am by a Swiss Federal Council Jet and is expected to reach there at 9:40am, an official told the news agency.

He will visit the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar from11:30am to 1:50pm and listen to the stories of horrific tortures faced by Rohingya people in Myanmar.

The Swiss President will also talk to local press at Kutupalong camp, said the official.

He will leave for Dhaka at3:15pmand meet civil society representatives in the capital.

The Swiss Embassy in Dhaka said the visit is focused on solidarity with a country that is severely affected by the crisis in neighbouring Myanmar and the establishment of closer bilateral relations.

Given the extent of humanitarian crisis (Rohingya), Switzerland earlier called upon the government of Myanmar to fully respect its obligations under international law, particularly to prevent all the human rights violations and abuses, and ensure that the perpetrators of such violations are brought to justice, thus creating the conditions essential for the refugees’ return.

Berset arrived here on Sunday on a four-day official visit, the first official visit by any Swiss President to Bangladesh.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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