Resolving Rohingya Crisis: Hasina seeks support from Cambodia

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday sought support from Cambodia for a durable solution to theRohingya crisis as it is a threat to regional peace and stability.

“As we continue bilateral negotiations with Myanmar for the Rohingyas’ safe return to their homeland, I requested Prime Minister Hun Sen for his support for a durable solution to the crisis,” she said.

The PM said this in a joint press statement with her Cambodian counterpart after the official talks between the two countries at the Peace Palace, reports UNB.

Meanwhile, the two nations yesterday signed 10 instruments, including one agreement and nine MoUs, aiming to step up cooperation in the fields of tourism, agriculture, civil aviation, ICT and technical education.

The two PMs witnessed the signing of the documents by ministers and high officials concerned at the same venue.

Hasina said they discussed some of the security challenges facing the region and expressed their common resolve to fight terrorism and extremism.

“We’ve also discussed the Rohingya crisis that threatens peace and stability of our region. Bangladesh continues to shelter more than 1 million Rohingyas. Of them, around seven lakh fled atrocities in Myanmar and took shelter in Bangladesh recently.”

Describing Cambodia as a close regional neighbour of Bangladesh, the PM said the two countries share common aspirations to promote peace, security and development. “We cooperate closely in many regional and global forums, including at ARF, ASEM, ACD and the UN.”

She said her visit to Cambodia has been extremely fruitful as Prime Minister Hun Sen and she remained committed to taking the bilateral relations to a new height.

The PM said Bangladesh has proposed holding the first Joint Commission, to be headed by two foreign ministers, in Dhaka next year.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni hands over gifts to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh yesterday on the second day of Hasina’s three-day official visit to the Southeast Asian country. Photo: BSS

Bangladesh and Cambodia were also considering a proposal for opening resident diplomatic missions in each other’s capital, she added.

She said the Bangalee and the Khmer nations share ancient cultural linkages, a Sanskrit and Pali inspired script, and a common new year in the month of April.

She lauded Hun Sen for the robust growth and development of his country.

The Cambodian PM said they, during the bilateral talks, discussed the Rohingya issue.

“We highly appreciate Bangladesh [for sheltering forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar]. Though Bangladesh has a population of over 160 million, it took the refugee issue on its shoulder.”

Hun Sen also hoped Bangladesh and Myanmar would work together smoothly for the safe return of the refugees to Myanmar.

The Cambodian PM said his country supports the request from Bangladesh to be the sectoral dialogue partner of Asean and it would work to achieve the goal.

He also noted that through the ongoing second official visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Cambodia, the bilateral relations of the two countries would be strengthened further.

Expressing his gratitude to Hasina for inviting him to visit Bangladesh, he said he accepted the invitation with pleasure.

HUN SEN ADDRESSES PM AS ‘SISTER’

Cambodian PM Hun Sen yesterday addressed his Bangladesh counterpart as a “sister”, reports BSS.

“At the end of the bilateral talks between the two countries today [yesterday], the Cambodian prime minister addressed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a sister,” Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque told reporters after the meeting at the Peace Palace.

“You’re not only the prime minister of Bangladesh, but also a sister of mine. That’s why I addressed you as my sister,” the foreign secretary quoted the Cambodian PM as saying.

Shahidul said the Bangladesh PM also addressed Hun Sen as a “brother”. It demonstrated special relations between the two Asian countries, he added.

PM MEETS CAMBODIAN KING

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni yesterday expressed his satisfaction over the existing bilateral relations between his country and Bangladesh.

The King made the comment when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met him at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said the Hasina was accorded a royal reception at the palace.

During the meeting, the Cambodian king and the PM discussed issues of mutual interests.

Hasina invited the Cambodian king to visit Bangladesh.

Bangabandhu’s younger daughter Sheikh Rehana, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon and State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak were present, among others.

Hasina later held meetings with Cambodian Senate President Say Chhum and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

Wrapping up her three-day visit to the Asian country, the PM is scheduled to return home today afternoon.

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