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24 January, 2018 10:08:08 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 January, 2018 05:59:07 PM
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Indonesian president due Saturday

Jakarta’s ties with Naypyidaw ‘may be helpful’ to solve Rohingya crisis
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
Indonesian president due Saturday

Bangladesh can benefit from the increased engagements between Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, and Myanmar in resolving the protracted Rohingya crisis, according to diplomatic sources. And, they said that Dhaka will seek more help from Jakarta in this regard during the upcoming visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Bangladesh on January 27-28.

Along with other bilateral, regional and global issues, the Rohingya crisis will be highlighted during his bilateral talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said the sources. Although not yet finalised, the Indonesian president is most likely to visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

If the visit to the coastal district housing over 10 lakh Rohingyas takes place, the Indonesian president will be the first head of the state to make a trip to experience the plight of the persecuted people from Myanmar.

With regard to Jakarta’s potential influence over Naypyidaw in resolving the Rohingya crisis, the sources said that Indonesia is not only the largest Muslim country in the world, but also the largest nation among the ASEAN, the bloc of Southeast Asian countries, of which Myanmar is a member.

And, it has significant engagements with Myanmar and those are increasing day by day, they said, adding that even in September last year, the Indonesian embassy in Myanmar organised an event to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The sources lamented that Indonesia has not so far done ‘its best’ to help resolve the crisis. Even, they said, they have not been as vocal as their neighbour Malaysia. “Look, sometimes, the role of Indonesia seems dubious to me. They are not as vocal as they should be due to their own problems at home, their investments in Myanmar and their military’s cooperation with Myanmar military,” said a senior diplomat stationed in an ASEAN country.

“Whatever they did so far, I think, was to appease their Muslim population,” he said. “If Indonesia became vocal like Malaysia, effects would have been much stronger and some other countries, including Singapore— most developed country among the bloc with better respect for human rights— might have done more than just issuing statements,” he added.

Indonesia’s investment in many sectors in Myanmar is on the rise, said that sources, adding, “Though the figures are not significant yet, the trend is upward.”

Furthermore, they said that Jakarta’s military cooperation with its counterpart, a very powerful actor in decision making especially on the Rohingya issue, is very good. “Bangladesh can be benefited from these aspects,” they noted. While the Indonesian president will be in the capital, the sources said, Bangladesh will ask for Indonesia’s help in any manner to help resolve the Rohingya crisis. About Widodo’s visit to Cox’s Bazar, they said that work is still on and there is very good possibility of a trip to the Rohingya settlements.

“We are still working on it. His tight schedule is a problem,” said a senior official familiar with the visit. “Remember, it’s a bilateral visit. But, due to the gravity of the situation, the Rohingya crisis will be discussed,” he said. Among other issues, trade and investment will be highlighted during the bilateral talks between the prime minister and the Indonesian president, said the sources.

The bilateral trade between the two countries now stands at about a billion dollar, which is heavily in favour of Indonesia, they said. Bangladesh imports products like palm oil and coals from Indonesia and the country is considering importing more coals from the Southeast Asian nation, they added. During the visit, the sources said that there will be a declaration of beginning of the negotiations for preferential trade agreement between the two countries and a bilateral instrument will be signed with regard to introducing foreign office consultations.

 

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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.

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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