Dhaka – The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has said more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims sheltered in Bangladesh must be returned to Myanmar without any form of fear and prosecution.
“It is the responsibility of the Myanmar government and military to create conducive environment so that the Rohingyas feel safe to return home,” Pompeo told the maiden meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen in Washington.
According to a press release of Bangladesh’s foreign ministry, the Secretary of State assured US support for Bangladesh in finding a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis.
More than 750,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh fleeing a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar in August 2017. Nearly 400,000 others had been living in Bangladesh’s southern Cox’s Bazar district after they were driven away from their homes in Rakhine in the past years.
Bangladesh termed these persecuted community as forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals.
Pompeo lauded the humanitarian gesture Bangladesh for temporarily sheltering the persecuted Rohingya.
Momen sought US support to the creation of a safe zone in Rakhine State to be monitored by international human rights groups for the Rohingya refugees.
He also apprised Bangladesh’s plan to relocate 100,000 refugees at an island called Bhashanchar.
During the first meeting between Momen and Pompeo since their assumption in the office in respective governments, the two leaders discussed the entire gamut of diplomatic issues between the two countries.
Deportation of Bangabandhu’s killer Rashed Chowdhury from USA, shared vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, US investments in Bangladesh, duty and quota free access of Bangladeshi garments products in the US market and US-Bangladesh partnership in multiple sectors were among the issues featured in the discussion, said the press statement.
Regarding deportation of Bangabandhu’s self-confessed and convicted killer Rashed Chowdhury from the USA, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister pointed out that he is fleeing justice.
This is essential to carry out a vital common agenda of both countries pertaining to counter-terrorism and countering-violent extremism and upholding rule of law.
Both leaders agreed that for greater prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, vital energy and infrastructure projects need to be implemented on regional partnership basis.
In that respect, leaders of the region need to work together on issues such as governance, accountability, rule of law and maritime security.
Momen stated that Bangladesh is lauded internationally for its impressive development journey. He sought more investment from the USA in the oil and gas sector and US presence in the Special Economic Zones.
Foreign Minister Momen sought US support to the candidature of Bangladesh in the upcoming election to the post of Deputy Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Later in the day, the visiting Bangladesh Minister held meetings with senior officials of the US State Department and Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman.
Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin accompanied the Minister at the meetings.
newsnextbd.com/reporting by Nazrul Islam