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PM Hasina seeks Singapore’s help in solving Rohingya crisis

  • Published at 09:25 pm March 12th, 2018
PM Hasina seeks Singapore’s help in solving Rohingya crisis
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged Singapore to request Myanmar for resolving the Rohingya crisis quickly as it is a big problem and burden for Bangladesh. She made the call during her meeting with Singapore President Halimah Yacob and the official meeting with her Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong at Istana. Briefing reporters after the meetings, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said: "The prime minister said it's a big problem for us. It's a burden which needs to be resolved." Since Singapore and Myanmar are the chair and member of ASEAN respectively, Hasina told them that Singapore can pursue the Myanmar government that the stability and development of that region depend on the repatriation of Rohingyas. Noting that Bangladesh has already signed a bilateral agreement over the repatriation of Rohingyas, she said the implementation of agreement is being delayed for many reasons. "The prime minister urged Singapore to request Myanmar in this regard and the Singaporean side responded very sympathetically," Shahidul said. Hasina said Bangladesh continues to shelter more than one million Rohingyas. Of them, some 700,000 Rohingyas have recently taken shelter in Bangladesh fleeing persecution in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. [caption id="attachment_252367" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pays a courtesy call on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at his official residence Istana on Monday, March 12, 2018 Focus Bangla[/caption] Singaporean President Yacob highly praised Hasina for her leadership role, particularly in women emancipation and gender issue. The foreign secretary said it has become clear through the discussion between the two that the main basis of Singapore-Bangladesh relation is economic collaboration --trade, business and investment. Three issues – Rohingya, Business sector including seaport, and easy movement seafarer in Singapore – got priority in the discussions at the two meetings, Shahidul said. At both meetings, Hasina said seafarers are now facing problem for movement in Singapore and urged the Singapore government to solve it. In response, the president and the prime minister of Singapore agreed that they will consider it. Hasina showed Bangladesh's interest in getting Singaporean investment in food processing and fish processing, energy and energy-related sectors. When she requested Singapore to invest in special economic zones in Bangladesh, her Singaporean counterpart Loong showed keen interest. Noting that Bangladesh is keen to develop deep seaport and make it operational, Hasina sought Singapore's assistance in this regard. Bangladesh also sought Singapore's support in favour of Bangladesh's initiative to be “Sectoral Dialogue Partner” of ASEAN. But Singapore said there is embargo now over it and they will extend the support when the embargo goes. About bilateral trade, Bangladesh said there is a trade imbalance against Bangladesh, and the business community of Singapore should invest heavily in Bangladesh to address it. Besides, discussions were held for enhancing air connectivity between the two countries. Hasina invited both Yacob and Loong to visit Bangladesh this year and both of them accepted the invitations.