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Dhaka Tribune

Rohingya repatriation: Thailand promises continued support for Bangladesh

While calling on the prime minister, the Thai ambassador also said she is committed to take Bangladesh-Thailand bilateral relations to a new height

Update : 28 Aug 2019, 07:24 PM

Thailand has said it will continue its support to Bangladesh for the swift repatriation of Rohingya refugees. 

Newly-appointed Thai Ambassador Arunrung Phothong Humphreys conveyed this message when she called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office on Wednesday. 

The prime minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim later briefed the media. 

He said Prime Minister Hasina termed Rohingyas as "the big burden" for Bangladesh. 

"They are citizens of Myanmar [and] must return to their homeland," she said. 

Also Read - ‘Engage creatively with China, India and Japan to resolve Rohingya crisis’

Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. Most of them came here after the Myanmar army launched a brutal offensive targeting the ethnic minority. 

Myanmar denies them citizenship and calls them 'Bangali' to imply that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. 

Two attempts to repatriate the Rohingyas have failed. 

The Thai ambassador said she is committed to take Bangladesh-Thailand bilateral relations to a new height. 

"The 40-year relations between the two countries are very friendly and cordial," she said, mentioning that Thailand is interested to work with Bangladesh in trade, industry and energy sectors. 

She highly praised Bangladesh's economic growth, particularly its high GDP growth, saying: "It became possible because of the leadership and guidance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina." 

Humphreys mentioned that Bangkok University has introduced the Bangabandhu Chair.

Also Read - The day a 13-year-old Rohingya girl’s life turned into a nightmare

She noted that Bangladesh is located at a very strategic position in South Asia. "Bangladesh is the gateway to South Asia for those who will come from the East. It's now a very important country in the regional and international forum." 

Prime Minister Hasina assured all out cooperation to the ambassador in discharging her duties in Bangladesh. She expressed deep satisfaction at the present state of bilateral relations between the two countries. 

Sheikh Hasina noted that Thailand has developed in the agricultural sector, especially in the food processing sector, and the country could cooperate with Bangladesh in the sector. 

"Our aim is to eradicate poverty and ensure basic needs of the people. The dream of the father of the nation was to build the country in a planned manner," she said. 

Rural people are the centre of the development activities of the government. The prime minister noted that the poverty level has come down to 21.4% while per capita income rose to $1,909. 

She also emphasized on rail, road and air connectivity, and said Bangladesh gives importance to the Southeast Asian countries, especially for trade and business.

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