POST TIME: 10 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 10 February, 2018 01:44:54 AM
UK secy terms Rohingya crisis ‘one of biggest’ humanitarian disasters
Dhaka-London cargo flights to resume soon

UK secy terms Rohingya crisis ‘one of biggest’ humanitarian disasters

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson has described the Rohingya crisis as one of the biggest humanitarian crises in decades and placed great emphasis on the need to find the ways to solve the problem on the other side of the border. “I think we all in the international community need to work out how we can solve the issue on the other side of the border,” he told a questioner after a meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali at state guest house Padma  in the capital last night. “We all want to see safe and dignified and secure return of the Rohingyas back to their places of origin,” said Johnson, who arrived on a two-day visit yesterday afternoon. “I was really struck by how Bangladesh and the UK really

share a common analysis of what needs to be done. We need to make these points together to the government in Naypyidaw,” he said. “The plight of the Rohingyas and the suffering they have had to endure is one of the most shocking humanitarian disasters of our time. This is a man-made tragedy that could be resolved with the right political will, tolerance and cooperation from all those involved,” said the British secretary, a former journalist. “I am going to Cox’s Bazar tomorrow to look at some of the contributions that the UK is able to make to those extraordinary Bangladeshi humanitarian efforts,” he said.

“I want to see and hear for myself the terrible things these people have been through, and I will be talking to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other regional leaders about how we can work together to resolve this appalling crisis,” he added

 Calling his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as excellent, the UK foreign secretary said, “We had an excellent meeting with the prime minister. We discussed all the issues of cooperation between the UK and Bangladesh... success of Bangladesh.”

“We also discussed, of course, the importance of free press, free and fair democratic elections,” he said.   The UK secretary also informed that London is very pleased with the progress and efforts made by the civil aviation authorities and that ‘we are on the verge of the announcement of resumption’ of direct cargo flights between Dhaka and London.

The UK authorities slapped a ban on direct cargo flights between Dhaka and London in 2016. “It’s all but done,” said Johnson.

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake said, “We have almost cracked it. Everything short of announcement (is) in place.”    

Describing London’s relationship with Dhaka as incredibly important for his country, Johnson said, “I want to convey an important message today. Once we are leaving the European Union, we will want to intensify our bilateral relations, to do more trade together as well as trading with the rest of Europe.” Today, after visiting Rohingya camps, he will fly to Myanmar to hold talks with Suu Kyi and visit northern Rakhine.

The UK foreign secretary will travel to Bangkok for talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and also meet the chair of the advisory board on the Rakhine Advisory Commission, Surakiart Sathirathai.