Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed with Johnson that the repatriation process must begin as soon as possible
British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson on Friday stressed the need for quick repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in Myanmar, saying any delay might complicate the issue.
The British foreign secretary, who arrived in Dhaka on Friday on a two-day visit, made the statement during his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganabhaban later in the evening.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed with Johnson that the repatriation process must begin as soon as possible, prime minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told reporters at the post-meeting briefing.
The Bangladesh prime minister and the British foreign secretary also agreed that after the repatriation of the Rohingyas, the Myanmar authorities should allow international organizations including the UNHCR to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas.
Hasina said Bangladesh had given temporary shelter to over one million Myanmar nationals, and such a huge population of refugees is a big burden on Bangladesh.
She said Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi should act sincerely to this end.
The Bangladesh prime minister also stressed the importance of implementing the recommendations made in the Kofi Annan Commission report on the Rohingya crisis for a durable solution.
Hasina also brought to Johnson’s notice the attack carried out on Bangladesh High Commission in London on Wednesday.
In reply, Johnson assured the prime minister that the British authorities were looking into the issue.
He compared the latest Rohingya exodus to the one that occurred in Palestine in 1948 when over 600,000 people were displaced from their homeland.
He appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s stance on safe and dignified repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.
Discussing terrorism, Johnson highly lauded Hasina’s government for the way it contained terrorism and militancy in Bangladesh.
In response, the prime minister said the law enforcement agencies worked to root out terrorism, while her government carried out a countrywide campaign involving the public against such social menaces.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Prime Minister’s Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, Principal Secretary Nojibur Rahman and British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake were present at the meeting.