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7 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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PM leaves for Italy Sunday

Hasina to reinforce Rohingya crisis in meeting with Pope
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
PM leaves for Italy Sunday

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to meet Pope Francis during her state visit to Vatican, a sovereign state inside Italy, on Monday. During the visit, the premier is likely to highlight to the Pope the plight hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, who took shelter in Bangladesh, have been facing. The prime minister will leave for Rome on Sunday mainly to attend the 41st session of the annual governing council meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and to pay a state visit to Vatican. There will be, however, no bilateral meeting with the Italian prime minister as expected earlier. “The prime minister’s trip to Vatican on Monday will be a full-fledged state visit involving all the relevant ceremonies and formalities,” a senior foreign ministry official told The Independent yesterday.

During the bilateral meeting with Francis, officials concerned said, Hasina will discuss all the issues of mutual interest especially the Rohingya crisis that has seen the arrivals of more than 6.88 lakh (680,000) Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar since August, 2017.

It is well known to all that the Pope, who recently visited Bangladesh, has strongly spoken against the atrocities orchestrated against the Rohingyas by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people belonging to other ethnic groups in Rakhine. The prime minister is expected to update the Pope, the spiritual leader of the Catholics, on the arrangement to repatriate Rohingyas to their homes in Rakhine and to seek the assistance of his influence over the globe to persuade the Myanmar government to take back its displaced people, said the officials. Apart from the Rohingya issue, they said Hasina is also likely to call for the help of the catholic leader in relations to migration and climate change, the issues the Pope is very passionate about. On Tuesday, Hasina will attend the IFAD event and deliver a speech, said the officials. On the bilateral meeting with the Italian prime minister, they said that there will be no bilateral parley with the head of the government of the host country. Asked for the reason, a senior foreign ministry official said, “We have tried but could not manage as the Italian prime minister is busy with election campaigning.”

When asked if any Italian minister will call on the prime minster while she is in Rome, the official said, “As of now, I can say that there will be no bilateral component.” The prime minister will depart Italy for home on February 14.

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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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