Dhaka – As part of Dhaka’s multipronged diplomacy for repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar, Bangladesh has sought support from Italy, one of the members of the European Union.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday made the request during a bilateral meeting with her Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte in Rome. Earlier, Bangladesh requested friendly countries and major international blocks for measures to ensure safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingya Muslims who fled prosecution in Myanmar.
More than 1 million Rohingya Muslims have been living in squalid camps in south-eastern Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar after they fled violence at their homes. Of them nearly 750,000 crossed the border following the 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Bangladesh government in association with the international aid agencies have been looking after the wellbeing of the refugees. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed for voluntary repatriation of the persecuted people in 2017, but a lack of sincerity from Myanmar stalled the repatriation process.
Ever since the crisis unfolded, Prime Minister Hasina’s government took initiatives to ensure return of the Rohingya and sought international cooperation.
Hasina, who is now on an official visit to Rome, during her talks with her counterpart, thanked the European Union and Italy as well for their support to the cause of the Rohingya.
A nine-point joint statement was issued on the outcomes of bilateral talks between the two leaders, who discussed the range of diplomatic issues related to bilateral, regional and international cooperation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told reporters that the statement welcomed the International Court of Justice’s January 23 decision that asked Myanmar for interim measures to protect the Rohingya still living in Rakhine.
The statement added that the Bangladesh premier called for international community’s support in implementing the decision of International Court of Justice.
Conte expressed Italy’s appreciation for the Bangladeshi management of the crisis.
He underlined the political and financial support Italy has been delivering through UN agencies to help Bangladesh cope with the humanitarian emergency. He also encouraged Prime Minister Hasina to continue with the policy of hospitality Bangladesh has followed so far.
“Both sides stressed the importance of an ever more intense cooperation between the EU and Bangladesh in areas such as development, labor and human rights,” reads the statement.