Dhaka – Germany, Sweden and the European Union have extended strong support in resolving the Asian refugee crisis unfolded between Bangladesh and Myanmar after Burmese army carried out extensive violence on minority Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state.
The foreign ministers of the European countries and the foreign policy chief of the European Union made the assurance at meetings with Bangladeshi leaders in Dhaka on Sunday after visiting the refugee camps in the south-eastern district of Cox’s Bazar.
They also appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her humanitarian gesture she had shown sheltering hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and European Union High Representative Federica Mogherin visited the camps in Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar. They said they would raise the issue at the two-day ASEM summit beginning on Monday in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw.
The European officials separately met the prime minister at her official Ganabhaban residence after the one-day trip to C ox’s Bazar.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters about the outcome of the meetings.
Various aspects of the Rohingya crisis have been discussed in the meetings, he said adding that the Prime Minister told them that it would be difficult for Bangladesh to keep the refugees for a long time.
The German and Swedish foreign ministers as well as the EU high representative expressed their concern over the atrocities on the Rohingya people in Myanmar, he said.
Federica Mogherin said she will discuss with the Myanmar leadership at different levels on the Rohingya repatriation. The EU will continue support to Bangladesh, she said.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said that international solidarity is very much needed on the repatriation of Rohingya people from Bangladesh.
She said that people across the globe expected Aung San Suu Kyi to be “proactive” to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
She will visit Myanmar and encourage the government of Myanmar to initiate the process of repatriation of the Rohingya.
These refugees should be rehabilitated in Myanmar ensuring safety, security and dignity under the UN supervision.
Prime Minister Hasina said that the Rohingya issue is a huge challenge for Bangladesh. She said her government has already ensured safe drinking water and sanitation for the forcibly displaced Rohingya.
Hasina renewed her call for immediate implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission report to resolve the Rohingya crisis. “They’ve (Myanmar) to agree and take back their nationals,” she said.
PM’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh Ambassador to Belgium Mohammad Shahadat Hossain and Bangladesh Ambassador to Sweden Md Nazmul Islam were present, among others.
Earlier, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said his country would give 24 million dollars in emergency aid to the refugees to deal with “catastrophic living conditions.”
Germany in October had originally pledged 5 million euros.
The visit by Gabriel along with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, comes ahead of a meeting of Asian and European foreign ministers in Myanmar’s capital.
“We want to have a discussion about the situation in Bangladesh and Rohingya from Myanmar in the ASEM [Asia-Europe Meeting], and of course in the international community,” Gabriel told reporters after visiting one of the camps in Cox’s Bazar.