Rohingya crisis to take centre stage | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:25 AM, May 27, 2019

PM’s Japan-Saudi Arabia Visit

Rohingya crisis to take centre stage

Rohingya crisis will have a special focus during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Japan and Saudi Arabia, beginning tomorrow.

During a bilateral meeting, Sheikh Hasina will seek her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe’s assistance in addressing the Rohingya crisis.

The issue will also get special importance at the OIC conference in Makkah, Saudi Arabia on May 31, said Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Momen   during a press briefing at the foreign ministry conference room yesterday.

“The Rohingya issue is gradually becoming more critical. If it is not addressed, the complexities will be more serious,” he told reporters.

Also, aid for Rohingyas is dwindling, which is a matter of serious concern, he said.

“The good news is that China has recently agreed to lobby Myanmar for quick repatriation of the Rohingyas,” the foreign minister said.

During the conference, Gambia’s proposal of taking Myanmar’s atrocities against Rohingyas to the International Court of Justice will be finalised.

“In that case, Myanmar will feel more inclined to create conducive conditions for Rohingyas’ return,” he said.

Around 7,50,000 Rohingyas fled brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine since August 2017, joining some 3,00,000 others who had fled earlier waves of violence from the Buddhist-majority country.

The repatriation was scheduled to begin in November last year but the refugees did not agree. Conditions in Rakhine were not conducive and there was no guarantee of citizenship, they say.

During the prime minister’s three-day visit, Japan and Bangladesh will sign the 40th Official Development Assistance agreement to facilitate USD 2.5 billion loan to Bangladesh for five projects. The projects involve power, investment, metro rail, port development and energy efficiency promotion. 

Sheikh Hasina will hold a meeting with Japan’s top business leaders to discuss trade and investment between the two countries.

Japan International Cooperation Agency President Shinichi Kitaoka will also meet PM Hasina. She will attend a meeting with expatriate Bangladeshis as well.

The prime minister will speak as keynote speaker at an international conference on “The Future of Asia”, organised by Nikkei Inc, where she will highlight the Rohingya crisis, technological change, human resources and the success story of Bangladesh.

“The relationship between Bangladesh and Japan has improved to the level of comprehensive partnership. Japan is an important trade partner of Bangladesh and one of the major sources of foreign investment,” Momen said.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal; PM’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman; State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam; State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid; State Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Imran Ahmad and other officials will accompany PM to Japan.

A 53-member delegation of top business leaders will also be part of the entourage.

On May 31, Sheikh Hasina will leave for Saudi Arabia to attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s conference.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, who will also attend the OIC conference, said the event will discuss the overall situation of Muslims, especially where they are minorities, including Rohingyas and Palestinians.

Global terrorism, Islamophobia, humanitarian crises and economic cooperation among the OIC countries will also be discussed at the event, he added.

PM Sheikh Hasina will leave for Finland on June 3 from Jeddah. She is scheduled to meet the president of Finland.


Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad may visit Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Momen said yesterday.

“We hope he will be coming to Bangladesh. We’ve already invited him,” he said.

Meanwhile, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, senior-most cabinet member, will represent Bangladesh at the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ceremony will likely take place on May 30.

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