UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Sunday assured Bangladesh of continued support in handling the Rohingya crisis as they jointly met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Tejgaon office.
“They simultaneously reiterated their commitment to keep continued pressure on Myanmar to resolve the crisis,” premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told newsmen after the meeting, report agencies.
The UN secretary general and the WB chief, he said, again appreciated Bangladesh’s generosity in offering refuge to more than a million of Rohingyas who fled their home to evade massacre and reaffirmed the global community’s solidarity with Dhaka. The meeting came after the two global figures reached Dhaka overnight while they are scheduled to visit the makeshift Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar ahead of wrapping up their nearly three-day Bangladesh tour over the issue.
Karim said Bangladesh’s development issue also largely featured the discussion while the premier appreciated Guterres and Kim for their visit and explained them the challenges being faced by the country in view of the crisis.
She pointed out that people in the neighbourhood appeared as worst sufferers due to the massive influx.
The premier, he said, focused on a chronological history of influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar into Bangladesh since 1977 until their latest exodus triggered by a ruthless military crackdown that began on August 25 last year.
“Bangladesh gave shelter to 1.1 million Rohingyas only on humanitarian grounds as people of the country suffered a nearly identical experience as they were forced to take shelter in India during the War of Liberation in 1971,” Karim quoted the premier as telling the two high profile dignitaries.
Sheikh Hasina told them despite the bilateral agreement with Myanmar for Rohingyas’ repatriation, Naypyidaw has not taken any action for its implementation yet.
Sheikh Hasina also explained them the government’s preparations to relocate 1, 00,000 Rohingyas to an offshore island saying they could live there in a better condition having livelihood opportunities.
Bangladesh, she said, now providing the Rohingyas all humanitarian supports including healthcare services.
Guterres said the UN would keep continued pressure on Myanmar on the issue and simultaneously give Bangladesh its constant support for resolving and handling the crisis.
The UN Secretary General, however, feared the Rohingyas could be exposed to radicalisation and laid importance on an education system for their protection from such phenomenon.
He said Myanmar should as well be made understood what their action could yield.
Guterres appreciated the World Bank for extending its assistance for Rohingyas as well as Bangladesh against the backdrop of the crisis as its president assured the Bretton Woods Institution’s continued support on the issue.
Kim said development work and humanitarian issues should be dealt together.
Appreciating Bangladesh’s graduation from LDC to a developing country the WB president said he would place a proposal to the bank’s board of governors to the provide loan at a concession rate.
Guterres echoed the World Bank president regarding Bangladesh’s economic growth while highly praised its comprehensive campaign against terrorism and disaster management programmes.
“Bangladesh set one of the best examples of disaster management,” the press secretary quoted as saying the UN secretary general.
He also highly appreciated Bangladesh’s economic progress and role in combating the adverse affect of climate change.
The prime minister said her government was striving hard to build a hunger and poverty free Bangladesh as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She highlighted the country’s socioeconomic progress which was reflected in its last year’s GDP rate which stood at 7.78 percent.
“To cherish its prosperity Bangladesh is progressing fast,” she said.
Guterres praised Bangladesh’s role in UN peacekeeping missions across the globe by being the second largest country in providing peacekeepers.
They presented Sheikh Hasina a photograph of Father of the Nation Banglabandha Sheikh Mujibur Rahman captured as he was addressing the UN General Assembly on September 25, 1974.
Finance Minister, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM’s advisor Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shariyar Alam, Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, ERD Secretary Kazi Shafiqul Islam, PMO secretary Sazzadul Hassan and Bangladesh’s permanent representative in the UN Masud Bin Momen were present.