Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated Bangladesh's friendship-based foreign policy and renewed calls for the repatriation of the forcibly-displace Rohingya people through discussions with neighbouring Myanmar.
Hasina made the remarks while attending the graduation ceremony of Defense Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) 2020-2021 course via video conference from Ganabhaban on Thursday, reports bdnews24.com.
More than 700,000 Rohingya took refuge in Bangladesh within a few months after the start of a military crackdown in their home state of Rakhine on Aug 25, 2017. They joined the 400,000 other Rohingya who were already in the country.
In the face of international pressure, the Myanmar government signed an agreement with Bangladesh in late 2017 to take back the Rohingya but the repatriation process has so far failed to get off the ground
Despite two initiatives to repatriate the refugees in 2019, the Rohingya refused to return, citing concerns over the environment in the Rakhine state. Myanmar has been urged to make arrangements to ensure that the Rohingya can return to their homeland with security, dignity and civil rights.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, "In the interest of regional security and development, we have not engaged in any conflict with anyone over providing shelter to the forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens and making arrangements for their return."
"We are in talks with Myanmar over the repatriation of its citizens through negotiations. We are doing this with a friendly attitude. But we will definitely call out those who are in the wrong. But even then, we want them to take back their citizens," said Hasina.
The whole world has heaped praise on Bangladesh for providing shelter to the displaced Myanmar nationals, the prime minister noted.
Highlighting her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's foreign policy motto of 'friendship to all and malice to none', Hasina said, "We are moving forward by maintaining good international relations in line with this policy. Today, no country can say that it has hostile relations with Bangladesh. We are pursuing a friendly relationship with everyone.
Bangladesh is currently playing a very significant role in fostering regional unity, according to the Awami League chief. "Despite various limitations, including internal resources, we have responded to the call of endangered humanity."