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Dhaka Tribune

Rohingya crisis: President Shahabuddin calls on int’l community to urgently find durable solution

  • Says delay in repatriation may put entire region at risk
  • Adds that Bangladesh wants to become Asean sectoral dialogue partner
Update : 07 Sep 2023, 01:35 PM

President Mohammed Shahabuddin has called upon the international community to urgently find a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis to commence safe, voluntary and sustainable repatriation.

"It is the collective responsibility of the international community to find a durable solution to this crisis in its place of origin in Myanmar. Further delay in starting safe, voluntary and sustainable repatriation and shortage of humanitarian support may put the entire region at risk," the Bangladesh president said at the inauguration ceremony of the 18th East Asia Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center in the Indonesian capital on Thursday, reports UNB.

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sheltered 1.2 million forcibly displaced people from Myanmar on humanitarian grounds. Even in the seventh year of the crisis, there is no solution in sight as Bangladesh is pushed to the limits, he added.

The president said Bangladesh wishes to enhance its relations with Asean and institutionalize it by becoming Asean's sectoral dialogue partner.

"There are many sectors including trade, investment, transnational security issues and climate change where Asean and Bangladesh can cooperate. If we get Asean's sectoral dialogue partner status, there would be mutual benefits in many areas through increased economic cooperation, access to regional markets, strengthened regional integration, exchange of knowledge and best practices, enhanced regional security cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges," he added.

President Shahabuddin said this status would open up ample opportunities for both sides and promote Bangladesh's relations with Asean.

Saying that the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has evolved into an important regional forum on shared values and mutual cooperation, he said it has provided a platform for cooperation in six priority areas and two cross-cutting issues with possibilities for even more.

"The region — linked by commerce for centuries — is still at the centre of global trade and investment flows. The IORA can reap benefits from most of the emerging connectivity options and Asean is on top of this list," he added.

He said he is elated to see the institutionalization of cooperation between Asean and the IORA and warmly welcomed a recently signed MoU between them. "I believe it will be an important mechanism to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation."

The president said Bangladesh has made significant contributions in preparing the IORA outlook on the Indo-Pacific during its chairship.

He also believes that the IORA's engagement in the Indo-Pacific region will ensure a fair, equitable and sustainable trade and investment environment that will enhance economic growth and cooperation while building resilient regional and global value chains.

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a regional forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian and Oceanian regions, based on the Asean Plus Six mechanism. Membership expanded to 18 countries including Russia and the United States at the Sixth EAS in 2011.

The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on December 14, 2005.

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