POST TIME: 29 January, 2018 12:20:34 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 29 January, 2018 11:02:00 AM
Jakarta iterates help for Rohingya return
Indonesian president Widodo first head of govt to visit Rohingya camps

Jakarta iterates help for Rohingya return

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (C) visits a refugee camp at Palongkhali in Ukhia upazila of Cox’s Bazar yesterday. AFP photo

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has reiterated his country’s support for safe and dignified return of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, who had to cross into Bangladesh to escape from the atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people belonging to other ethnic groups in Rakhine. “President Widodo appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for sheltering over a million displaced persons from the Rakhine state,” according to the joint statement issued on the state visit of the Indonesian president on January 27-28.

He reiterated his country's support to the safe, dignified return of the displaced persons to the Rakhine state, it said. During the visit of the president of world’s largest Muslim country, Dhaka and Jakarta signed bilateral instruments that are expected to enhance cooperation in different sectors including trade and energy.

President Widodo yesterday visited the Rohingya settlements to see the plight of the persecuted people from Rakhine, becoming the first head of the state to visit the Rohingya camps.

Officials, including Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, believe that the Indonesian president’s visit to Bangladesh as well as Rohingya camps is a kind of pressure on Indonesia’s fellow ASEAN member Myanmar.

"Definitely it's a pressure on Myanmar .... I think the visit of the head of the government of an ASEAN member country to Bangladesh and witnessing the plight of the Rohingyas itself are a huge issue," said the oreign secretary after the bilateral talks between the two leaders at the prime minister’s office yesterday. The joint statement said that President Widodo and Prime Minister Hasina recognised the need for collaboration between the private sectors of the two countries for availing opportunities of investment in both the countries.

The prime minister reiterated her government’s keen interest to intensify trade, economic and regional peace and security partnerships with the ASEAN countries and sought Indonesia’s support in favour of Bangladesh’s request for Sectoral Dialogue Partnership with the ASEAN. The president welcomed Bangladesh’s desire for institutionalising relations with the ASEAN and encouraged Dhaka for a more active engagement with the regional body.

Recognising the potential for cooperation in maritime affairs and blue economy between the two countries, both the leaders agreed to work together to explore new areas and innovative means through bilateral and multilateral initiatives e.g. IORA.

Both the leaders stressed the need to enhance air connectivity to promote people-to-people contact, tourism and trade and agreed to work to further widen cooperation in the areas of agriculture, ICT, defence and tourism.

They recognised the threats arising out of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation on any religious or societal pretext and agreed to work together to counter all such challenges in both countries and beyond.

Bangladeshi and Indonesian leaders held a one-to-one meeting before the delegation-level talks. The five instruments signed yesterday at the prime minister’s office in the presence of Indonesian president and the prime minister related to the declaration of negotiation for preferential trade agreement. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lusitania signed the joint ministerial statement. The instruments were signed between the two countries on foreign office consultations,

combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, promoting sustainable governance, development of the integrated gas infrastructure and independent power producer and sales and purchase of LNG under government to government arrangement.