PM urges US to put pressure on Myanmar
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the United States to put pressure on Myanmar to stop pushing-in Rohingya nationals to Bangladesh as US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells paid a courtesy call on the premier at her office.
"We have given shelter to a huge number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on humanitarian grounds and it's a big problem for us ... So I call upon you to mount pressure on Myanmar in this regard," PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted the premier as saying while briefing reporters after the meeting.
The press secretary said the US assistant secretary of state wanted to know from the prime minister whether there is any political dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar on resolving Rohingya problem.
In reply, the prime minister said: "Our foreign office is in contact with the Myanmar authorities."
Wells, also acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, expressed the US's interest to work with Bangladesh to combat terrorism and highly appreciated Bangladesh government's initiatives for curbing terrorism.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina reiterated Bangladesh "zero tolerance policy against terrorism. "We won't allow our land to be used for carrying out terrorist acts in other countries," she said.
The prime minister renewed her call to repatriate death-row convicted killers of Bangabandhu who are now staying in the USA.
While talking about Bangladesh's impressive development in different sectors under her leadership, Sheikh Hasina said the main aim of her government is to strengthen rural economy.
On promoting private sector, the prime minister said her government has made open all the sectors in private sector.
Pointing out that the country's media is enjoying total freedom, she said the media is freely criticising the government and there is no interference from the government here.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said there are 750 daily newspapers in the country. "We have given permission to 44 TV channels in the private sector and 24 of them are now functioning," she said.
Elaborating her government's various steps for ensuring women empowerment, the premier said her government has ensured women participation in all spheres of the state.
She mentioned that the country's women are now in very high position in all sectors like administration, judiciary, education, armed forces and law-enforcement agencies.
While talking about the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and the USA, Sheikh Hasina said the volume of trade between the two countries increased manifolds from only 25 million US dollars in 1996.
The US assistant secretary of state pointed out that the economic relations between the two countries have developed significantly and mentioned that US is the largest market of Bangladeshi RMG products.
The US assistant secretary of state highly praised Bangladesh's stunning socio-economic development, especially attaining 7.24 percent GDP growth, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
PM's International Affairs Advisor Dr Gowher Rizvi, Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury and the US charge d'affaires in Dhaka were present on the occasion.