Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought continued support of the European Union to ensure safe, dignified, and sustainable return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Rakhine.
“The Bangladesh prime minister thanked the EU members, including Italy, for their support to the cause of the Rohingyas,” said a nine-point joint statement issued on the outcome of the bilateral talks between PM Hasina and her Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte in Rome.
The talks were held at Palazzo Chigi, the official residence of the Italian PM, on Wednesday.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said the two leaders discussed bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction at the present state of economic cooperation between the two countries.
The statement said both sides welcomed the January 23 decision of International Court of Justice on the Rohingya crisis.
It said the Bangladesh premier called for support from the international community to implement the court’s decision.
Giuseppe Conte appreciated Bangladesh’s management of the Rohingya crisis.
He underlined the political and financial support Italy has been delivering through UN agencies to help Bangladesh cope with the humanitarian emergency. He encouraged Hasina to continue with the policy of hospitality.
The statement said the talks between the two prime ministers reflected the positive trend of the bilateral relations.
The two leaders recognised the importance of the “Everything but Arms” preferential tariff regime the EU has been allowing for Bangladeshi exports to the European market.
The Italian premier recognised Bangladesh’s socioeconomic progress, which aimed at bringing the country out of the Least Developed Country (LDC) group in 2024.
Both sides praised the presence of Italian companies in Bangladesh, including in the textile sector, the statement said.
The two leaders expressed their confidence in further consolidating the Italy-Bangladesh economic partnership, including in the sectors of RMG, pharmaceutical products, light engineering, leather, hi-tech, and both conventional and renewable energy.
The sector of blue economy was also indicated as an area of mutual interest, also in connection with Italy’s outreach activities towards the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
The statement said both leaders recalled the presence of a large Bangladeshi community in Italy. More than 140,000 Bangladeshis now stay in Italy and most of them are well integrated in the Italian social fabric.
“A substantial part of the talks was focused on the ways and means to further consolidate bilateral cooperation on the issue of migration,” it added.
The two premiers talked about possible legal pathways for regular migration and fighting against the irregular one.
The statement said Bangladesh has sought Italy’s support in preferential access of its commodities to the EU market after the country’s graduation from the LDC group.
The two leaders encouraged the pursuit of the ongoing negotiations concerning several possible bilateral agreements. Both sides also agreed to intensify consultations.
They also recalled the “Mujib Borsho” (Mujib Year: 17th March 2020-17th March 2021) to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hasina invited the Italian premier to visit Bangladesh to take part in the celebration of “Mujib Borsho”.
Giuseppe Conte thanked Hasina for the invitation, the statement said.
The “Mujib Borsho” will be celebrated to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.