Bangladesh has sought comprehensive engagement of the international community, particularly Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in creating a conducive environment in northern Rakhine state and help repatriation and reintegration of the Rohingya refugees.
“If the Rohingya crisis remains unresolved for long, it may seriously undermine the security and stability of the entire region,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said at the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum in Bangkok today.
Thailand, chair of ASEAN, is hosting the event where foreign ministers from 26 countries and representative from European Union, USA, UK, Japan, China and India are participating.
Foreign Minister Momen stated that Bangladesh is not in a position to bear the burden of the 1.1 million, including 750,000, who fled atrocities from Myanmar since August 2017, for indefinite period.
“It should be a global responsibility to resolve this issue,” he said.
At the forum, foreign ministers from Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Malaysia also urged Myanmar to create conducive environment for early repatriation of Rohingya in safety and dignity, while seeking ASEAN’s enhanced engagement in this process.
USA, Canada and Malaysia particularly emphasised on ensuring justice and accountability in relation to atrocities committed against Rohingyas, according to a statement of the foreign ministry.
At this regional high-level Forum, Abdul Momen also embarked on key regional issues, including denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula, degradation of marine environment, human trafficking, illicit drugs trafficking and cybercrimes.
He stressed on the need for sustained peaceful atmosphere in the Korean Peninsula for the continued stability in the Asia-pacific region.
Dr Momen also held bilateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Canada, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam on the sidelines of the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum.
During his talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Momen thanked Canadian government for its vibrant role and support extended to resolve the Rohingya problem. He urged Canada to continue putting pressure on Myanmar to get back their nationals in safety and security.
Freeland said Canada is working at the international level for ensuring the repatriation of Rohingyas. She highlighted that getting out of this severe crisis is not the sole responsibility of Bangladesh, rather it’s a global responsibility.
At the meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Tilak Marapana, Dr Momen highlighted the need to inculcate a mindset of tolerance and mutual respect among different communities regardless of their race, color, religion and ethnicity to address violent extremism and terrorism.
The two ministers also explored areas of further cooperation in trade, investment and connectivity.
Dr Momen also met with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and both the Foreign Ministers discussed issues of mutual concern like trade, investment and connectivity.
Jaishankar assured India’s support for early repatriation of Rohingyas.
Momen also met Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand Md Nazmul Quaunine and high officials from Bangladesh, Canada, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam were present.