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Bangladesh urges Biden administration to play a leading role in resolving Rohingya crisis

  • Published at 11:55 am February 27th, 2021
Rohingyas sail for Bhashan Cha
File photo: Ships of Bangladesh Navy carry Rohingya people to Bhashan Char in Noakhali on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen expressed hope that the Biden administration will put more political and economic sanctions on Myanmar over the Rohingya issue

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has requested the newly elected US President Joe Biden's administration to play a leading role, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to bring about a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis.

During his interaction with leading US think tank "Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy" in Washington DC, on Friday, Momen reiterated that the only durable solution is the repatriation for the persecuted 1.1 million Rohingyas temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh, a press statement said.

Director at the institute Dr Azeem Ibrahim moderated the event. 

Among others, former US ambassador to the United Nations, commissioner from the US Congress on Religious Freedom, prominent journalists, members of Congress, State Department officials, UN personnel, and senior leadership of the OIC attended the event, both physically and online. The event was live-streamed on YouTube.

The Bangladesh foreign minister is currently visiting the United States on an official trip to reach out to the new administration to further enhance the bilateral relations and to convey Bangladesh's willingness to work closely with the new US Administration.

Also Read - Momen: Bangladesh wants strategic partnership with US

During the question and answer session with the audience, Dr Momen shared how the Bangladesh government is working for the welfare of Rohingyas during Covid-19 pandemic, as a result of which there was not a single case of death due to the deadly virus in the Rohingya camps.  

He also explained the context and rationale of relocating some of the Rohingya population from the overcrowded Cox's Bazar camps to Bhashan Char.

The minister hoped the Biden administration would put more political and economic sanctions on Myanmar to create a conducive environment for safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas to their homeland Myanmar. 

He noted that Bangladesh looks forward to the US government's concrete steps and leading role in achieving a sustainable solution of the Rohingya crisis, and hoped to work closely with the US administration in this regard. He also spoke about his proposal to appoint a special envoy on Rohingya,

Later, Foreign Minister Dr Momen attended a virtual event titled "Bangladesh-US bilateral relations and Rohingya issue," organized by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). 

The session was moderated by Ambassador Isobel Coleman.

At the event, Momen highlighted the socio-economic development of Bangladesh, tackling of Covid-19 pandemic and efficient management of the ongoing vaccination program in Bangladesh under the judicious direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Referring to his recent discussion with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Momen expressed satisfaction on the existing bilateral partnership between the two countries and hoped to enhance it further towards a strategic level. 

On the same day, the foreign minister virtually met US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky from Illinois, who appreciated Bangladesh for sheltering a huge number of Rohingyas.

Momen thanked the US government for its humanitarian and political support to Bangladesh to cope with the Rohingya exodus. 

He also requested for the US lawmaker's support to influence the government for taking more effective measures like imposing economic sanction and withdrawing GSP (generalized system of preferences) facilities of Myanmar. 

Both sides agreed to have deeper and wider engagement in the coming days ahead.

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