PM seeks Jakarta help to send back Myanmar refugees

JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 7, 2017 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today requested the Indonesian government to play a role in sending back the Myanmar refugees from Bangladesh.

"The Myanmar refugee issue is a big problem for Bangladesh and it needs to be resolved," the prime minister said this during a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on the sidelines of the IORA Leaders's Summit.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque said Indonesian foreign minister recently visited Bangladesh and Myanmar over the Myanmar refugee issue.

Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury and Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim and Secretary on the Maritime Unit of the Foreign Ministry Rear Admiral (retd) M Khorshed Alam were present at the briefing.

The (Myanmar refugee) issue also came up for discussion during the meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indonesian President Joko Widodo at Jakarta Convention Centre on the fringes of the IORA Leaders' Summit today, the foreign secretary said.

At the meeting, he said, the prime minister requested the Indonesian government to play a role in sending back the Myanmar refugees now staying in Bangladesh.

The issues of cooperation on the rail, pharmaceutical and energy sectors between the two countries were discussed, the foreign secretary said.

The Indonesian president said his country made a massive progress in the rail sector and wanted to make more contribution to Bangladesh's rail sector.

In this connection, Sheikh Hasina expressed satisfaction over the supply of 250 rail carriages by Indonesia to Bangladesh.

The prime minister highlighted Bangladesh's huge development in pharmaceutical sector and said Bangladesh is now exporting medicines to over 70 countries including the United States and European Union.

In this regard, the Indonesian president underscored the need for joint collaboration between the two countries in the pharmaceutical sector.

Pointing out that Indonesia produces and exports LNG, the foreign secretary said discussion was also held between the two leaders about the possible cooperation in the sector.

The Indonesian president highly appreciated Bangladesh's tremendous socioeconomic development under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The prime minister extended her invitation to the Indonesian president to visit Bangladesh at his convenient time which he cordially accepted.

In this connection, Widodo told Sheikh Hasina that a minister-level delegation would visit Bangladesh within two months to discuss the issue of his visit with the Bangladesh officials.

"We hope that the visit of the Indonesian president to Bangladesh would take place by this year," the foreign secretary said.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and Bangladesh Ambassador to Indonesia Major General Azmal Kabir were present at the meeting.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)