Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged the Dutch government to create pressure on Myanmar to take back their Rohingya nationals from Bangladesh as she held a bilateral meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Madrid.
“You (Netherlands) should put some pressure on Myanmar when their State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will visit your country next week to attend the hearing of the International Court of Justice,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen quoted the premier as saying while briefing reporters after the meeting.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim was also present at the briefing. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 25th Annual Conference of Parties (COP25), known as the UN Climate Change Conference, here this morning. The prime minister restated that Myanmar has created the Rohingya crisis and the solution lies with them.
She said Myanmar is our neighbour and a friendly state and they’ve been always saying that they will take back their forcibly displaced Rohingya people from Bangladesh. “They never say that they’ll not take back the Rohingyas from Bangladesh, but they have lack of sincerity in this regard … you can extend help to this end,” Sheikh Hasina told Rutte.
The Bangladesh premier informed Rutte that environmental disaster has taken place in Cox’s Bazar due to the exodus of over 1.1 million Rohingyas there. She said the government has developed an island named Bhashanchar for giving temporary shelter to the Rohingyas.
Sheikh Hasina thanked the Netherlands for raising voice by extending political support and emergency aid to 1.2 million Rohingyas. While talking about the climate change issue, the Dutch prime minister said carbon emission would have to be cut further across the world.
In reply, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is not a carbon emitter. “But we’re being affected due to others,” she said and mentioned her government’s various steps to combat the climate change. “We’ve made massive afforestation in the country and we’ve planned to plant 10 million trees in the ‘Mujib Barsho’ apart from regular plantation,” she said.
Mentioning that the Dutch government has helped adopt Bangladesh’s Delta Plan-2100, the prime minister sought more expertise from the Netherlands on the water. Mark Rutte today invited the Bangladesh prime minister to the Climate Adaptation Summit to be held in the Netherlands on October 22 next year.
Rutte thanked the prime minister for agreeing to take over the charge of the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum next year.
The Dutch premier said, “The next years are very important for us as we have to reduce the carbon emission.” When the Mark Rutte wanted to know from the prime minister about her government’s steps for climate adaptation, Sheikh Hasina said the government has undertaken many programmes in this regard.
She said the casualties from the natural disasters have reduced to a great extent as her government has constructed many shelter centres and made the people aware about disaster preparedness. The prime minister said the government has created 56,000 volunteers and built embankments to protect the people from natural calamities.
“We want to raise the height of the embankments and we want your cooperation in this regard,” she told the Dutch premier.
Sheikh Hasina invited the Dutch premier to attend the birth centenary programmes of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman next year.
Later, President of the European Council Charles Michel paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The foreign minister said they discussed various issues, including Rohingya and climate change. On the Rohingya issue, the premier said Bangladesh is continuing dialogue with Myanmar on the repatriation of the Rohingyas.
“But the Rohingyas do not want to go back unless they get assurance of Myanmar’s citizenship,” she told Charles Michel. Sheikh Hasina said China, India, Japan and Thailand all agreed with Bangladesh on the issue of Rohingya crisis and they are cooperating with Bangladesh in this regard.
They want that the Rohingyas should go back to their homeland, she said. “I think Myanmar should cooperate with us, because we want a peaceful solution and the region will be peaceful,” she said. Mentioning that the Chief of Army Staff of Bangladesh will visit Myanmar, the prime minister said Bangladesh continues its cooperation and connection with every level for the solution of the Rohingya crisis.
On terrorism issue, Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government’s zero tolerance policy against the menace and said none will be allowed to Bangladesh’s soil for terrorist activities in other countries. The prime minister also briefed the European Council president on various programmes of her government to combat the climate change.